Jenny Han sure knows how to write about tween angst… You know: How it feels to start liking boys. How it feels to know your big sister is prettier and more popular than you. How it feels to like a boy when he can look at you and not even *see* you.
12-year-old Annemarie — a.k.a. “Shug” — seems to be a typical tween girl. Her family seems to be the typical Southern family. Her friends seem to be typical. Blah, blah, blah… Why bother to read the book, right? Well, it suddenly seems that everything is changing, because Annemarie is becoming more aware of the people around her — and herself. As we follow Annemarie through her first year in junior high school, she has to come to grips with “crushing on” a long-time friend, deal with her family’s imperfections, and figure out whether popularity is more important than self-respect and being nice.
I actually listened to the unabridged audiobook for Shug, narrated by Liz Morton. I LOVED THIS GIRL’S VOICE! I could not have imagined a more “Shug” girl if I tried. The best part about Liz is how she does the other characters — the “deep” voices of the tween boys, the slow southern drawl of neighborhood women, or the upbeat, peppy sound of Shug’s teenage sister, Celia. Audiobooks are great for road trips, “reading” while you do your chores, or even for reading along with a paper book. I highly recommend that you check one out at your local library — especially since it’s free!