Book Review: Shug by Jenny Han

“Some girls are pretty and they were born for it but no matter what always be yourself because people might see the wrong side of you”

― Jenny Han, Shug

Annemarie ''Shug'' Wilcox is astute, bold, and honest on the inside. In this captivating young adult novel from Jenny Han, the international bestseller of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which was adapted into a 2018 big movie film, she sets out to become the new closest friend.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Annemarie Wilcox, or Shug as her family calls her, is beginning to think there's nothing worse than being twelve. She's too tall, too freckled, and way too flat-chested. Shug is sure that there's not one good or amazing thing about her. And now she has to start junior high, where the friends she counts most dear aren't acting so dear anymore -- especially Mark, the boy she's known her whole life through. Life is growing up all around her, and all Shug wants is for things to be like they used to be. How is a person supposed to prepare for what happens tomorrow when there's just no figuring out today?

My reaction to this novel...

When I first started reading this novel, I had no idea it was designed for middle school readers; I just wanted to read it because I adore Jenny Han and the way she delivers stories. Reading it felt exactly the same as when I had previously read one of her novels because I always felt like I was young again. It suddenly dawned on me that the main character is just 12 years old, so thinking about a deep and true love story at that age seems improper, but I can say that this novel is more of a cutesy-type narrative full of crushes and heartbreaks.

I can well relate to Annemarie's sentiments of inadequacy and unattractiveness as a young girl. She may have felt insecure at times as a child, especially if she didn't put much effort into her appearance and preferred kid-oriented activities. Many girls had the same emotions as she did. It is perfectly typical for girls her age to have these emotions as a result of starting to compare themselves to their sisters and friends, especially if those individuals had already reached their blossomed physically. I experienced a similar emotion when I was an adolescent, but it was quite typical. And I think it is inappropriate for her to spend more time on make-up than on playing.

Actually, I foresaw what would happen to her and her crush since I believe that's how things would always turn out. Because of the story's depiction of devastating heartbreaks and even familial issues, numerous adolescents may identify with it as being a bit realistic. We can see how she needs more support as she grows up, and I believe she is looking for a role model, which she thought she couldn't comprehend since she constantly feels alone and unattractive, and even she herself doesn't believe she is beautiful in a very unique manner. Being unconfident in oneself was quite upsetting, especially if there were reasons why she felt that way.

I particularly appreciate how her mother and sister refer to her as "Shug". It was very lovely for me since it seemed so special, but she couldn't see it for herself due of her poor self-esteem. I thought it was a pretty sweet pet name. I can also see how lovely and adorable she is, therefore I vouch for her and sincerely want her transformation to be so noticeable that everyone in her class, especially her crush, will undoubtedly realize how gorgeous she is.

The narrative is a little brief; you want to know more about it. I'm not sure whether it's intended to be a series, but despite the quick ending, I was really happy after finishing it. The narrative is wholesome and should be recommended to all middle grade readers as well as those who enjoy reading love stories. A worthwhile read that will revive the youth of our hearts.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

“People are gonna disappoint you sometimes. We’re flawed creatures. Not one of us is perfect, not even you, and you’ve gotta let people mess up and then you’ve gotta forgive them. That’s just life.”

This is absolutely true. We shouldn't demand perfection from anyone since imperfect people exist on Earth. It is unjust for others to place excessive pressure on them to be flawless because even we are not perfect. To embrace ourselves and those around us, we must understand that we are born with flaws. Because only God is perfect, people are supposed to fall short of God's perfection.

“Things can’t stay the same forever. People change; they grow up. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen.”

Even though we desire that things would stay the same forever, it is impossible since everyone, including you, change as the days, months, and years pass. We all experience growth, aging, and maturation, and how we respond to change—whether it's for the better or worse—depends on us.

Where to buy this book...


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