Jenny Han is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series, now Netflix movies. She is also the author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series, Shug, and Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream. She is the coauthor of the Burn for Burn trilogy, with Siobhan Vivian. Her books have been published in more than thirty languages. A former librarian, Jenny earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Gr 5-8-At first blush, Shug seems to be a typical contemporary novel about a middle school girl. But Han offers something more with her penetrating observation of Annemarie (Shug) as she becomes more aware of the people around her and of how they differ from her previous perceptions of them. Foremost on the 12-year-old's mind is her best friend since childhood, Mark, on whom she has developed a crush. Then it is her father, who breezes in from his business trips less and less frequently and stays for as little time as possible. Then it is her attractive mother, who reads Foucault and whose criticism of her fellow residents in their small North Carolina town starts to seem less like a matter of clear-eyed appraisal than of alcoholic bitterness. The bad boy whom Annemarie is forced to help with his schoolwork; her not-so-perfectly adjusted older sister; and even her popular new friend, the only Korean-American student in town, all receive reappraisal. Something has awakened in Annemarie, all right, and Han depicts the change with a delicacy and nuance that sets this first novel above the rest of the pack of similar books. This new author bears watching.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Han's heartfelt first novel persuasively expresses the woes of Annemarie "Shug" Wilcox during her first year of junior high. As the boys and girls at school start warming up to each other, flat-chested, freckle-faced Shug finds herself left out in the cold. Her best friend, Elaine, is "wrapped up" in her relationship with new boyfriend Hugh, while the boy Shug likes-longtime friend Mark-has started to act distant towards her. To add insult to injury, he asks another girl to the upcoming seventh-grade dance. Meanwhile, tensions mount in the Wilcox household as fights between Shug's parents (caused by her father's prolonged absences and her mother's drinking binges) intensify. Shug feels all alone, like she's the only seventh grader with problems, until she is assigned to tutor her nemesis, Jack, who, as it turns out, can relate to her troubles. With its distinct Southern flavor, its presentation of universal conflicts and a cast of characters sure to be recognizable to readers, this book will likely draw a wide audience. If themes are a little well worn, the author refrains from offering a conventional, sugar-coated ending that ties up all loose ends. Yet the heroine gains enough self-confidence and self-esteem to suggest that the rest of her ride through junior high will probably be less bumpy. Ages 10-14. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A great read.
-- Sarah Dessen