I didn't think it was possible to love Jenny Han any more than I already did after reading the first two books in her Summer series ... and then I read Shug and Jenny Han has become one of my favourite authors. Shug is such a sweet and wonderful story of first love and friendship and growing up. I seriously adore this book. And Annemarie and Jenny Han! Love all around.
Annemarie Wilcox (Shug as her family calls her) is a really wonderful and endearing character. She's twelve years old and she's got problems. She's too tall, has no breasts, she has too many freckles, things aren't brilliant at home and to make matters that much worse? She has a massive (and secret!) crush on her best friend, Mark.
But not that they are both starting middle school, things are changing all around. Mark no longer wants to hang out as much, preferring to spend times with his male friends. Annemarie's other friends are starting to couple up, which makes Annemarie feel a little uncomfortable. Even her best girl friend, Elaine, seems to be moving in a direction away from her and Shug is just living every painful and awkward feeling that comes with growing up. I really just wanted to give her a huge.
Annemarie is a character I could fully relate to. She says what's on her mind and has no time for flirting with boys and giggling senselessly. And she does not want to spend her time tutoring her sworn enemy, Jack Connolly. Especially when things between Annemarie's parents start falling apart, more than usual. There's some series issues of alcohol problems that is brought up in this book and my heart absolutely ached for poor Annemarie.
I really thought that this book would be all about the fun, light-heartedness of falling in love with your best friend, but it's so much more than that. It's about the awkward stages between childhood and teenagerdom. It's about growing up and growing apart and I really loved witnessing Shug's journey with this. AND! The sweet romantic relationship was adorable, almost painfully so.
Shug was a delight to read. I highly recommend it.