Author: Jenny Han
Number of Pages: 256
Advertised Age Level: Young Adult/Grades 5-8
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 12 yrs./7th grade
Language: minimal use of “ass” and “damn”, no f-word
Sex: none, first kiss
Drug/Alcohol Use: mother of main character is an alcoholic
Social Issues: alcoholism, mean girl behaviour, unrequited love
Suggested Movie Grade: PG
Premise: Annemarie “Shug” Wilcox has a lot on her mind. She’s about to start junior high. Her best friend is a boy named Mark, and she’s starting to have feelings that are more-than-friendly about him. One of her teacher’s hates her. Her father stays away on business trips for longer and longer. Her mother spends much of her time drinking or drunk. And when her parents are together, they fight. Even her perfect older sister is starting to break. Plus, she’s been assigned to help her worst enemy, troublemaker Jack Connelly, with his homework. The only good thing about life is her best friend, Elaine.
Facing junior high is hard. Facing the fact that nothing and nobody is what you thought they were is impossible.
Comments: Shug is teased by fellow classmates. Her feelings are hurt when Mark openly rejects her.
Shug’s mother is an alcoholic in denial, and several episodes of drunkeness are depicted. Her mother and father fight in front of the children.
Shug gets her period for the first time.
Age Appropriateness: Ages 9 and older