Author: Deirdre Riordan Hall
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Synposis: Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.
When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.
Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.
Review: I was immediately drawn to this book after reading the brief blurb, browsing through NetGalley. I'm a Polish chick and I did experience a bit of bullying in my day, regarding my weight. This book called to me and as soon as I was approved, I dug in.
For starters, I have to say that this book reminded me a lot of "Push" by Sapphire. Sugar's problems were not at all as intense and crazy as those that Precious experienced, but both books left me with a severe level of frustration. I wanted to reach through the pages and slap people, and scream "Wake the eff up!!"
In "Sugar," our title character is a bullied loner, whose home life is just as terrible as her life at school. Insults regarding her weight plague her, and she uses food - especially sweets - as a crutch. This all changes when she meets Even, a friendly and cute guy who befriends Sugar. When hanging out with Even, Sugar feels weightless and her feelings for Even continue to grow into a more romantic nature. Even is just perfect - kind, handsome, a bit tortured, and he rides a Harley - to boot.
My frustrations reading this book were related to almost every single plot point. I was so frustrated reading how Sugar was a doormat for every single person in her life. She gets physically and mentally abused and yet never defends herself or gets angry...she just takes it. Then most frustrating of all, tragedy strikes and forces Sugar's character to undergo rapid growth. Her redemption doesn't seem nearly as redeeming as I would have liked based on all the stuff she had to deal with. But who knows, maybe I'm reading this as a grumpy adult who has learned NOT to tolerate people's crap anymore.
Overall, I think this book would be great for teens who have been bullied due to their weight, but for me - Sugar was just too much of a doormat for it to be believable.
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