Thursday, March 12, 2015

Shug by Jenny Han | Book Review

My last 2 weeks was like: overtime in work + getting sick from stress + blue days. The only leisure time was when I was in a different world through reading books. I have read most of Jenny Han’s books. They’re like a time machine that brings back childhood memories. Besides from being light and easy to read, the book has a nice aura. Reading this is like being in that time of the day where you relax under a shade of tree while the wind blows and the leaves sways.

The title “Shug” doesn’t initially appeal to me. And also, learning that it was a story of a young girl, she’s too young for a real relationship. So how will this create excitement? Hmm.

But then, this book made me cry (for just a few tears). If you were a sentimental kid that likes stationeries etc. and that friendship meant a lot to you then, you will understand this. The concept is quite similar to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” but this is way milder and girly.

It’s not a typical story that has a matching solution in the end. It’s not drama either. It’s just a glimpse of the protagonist’s normal daily life while she went to a transition phase. It doesn’t have a lasting impact to me yet it’s good to know that there is this kind of books I can recommend to my little sister or future kids when it’s time for them to grow too. I wish I was able to read this during my early teenage years.

“A twelve-year-old girl learns about friendship, first loves and self-worth in a small town in the South.”

Shug book cover

Some things those are so typical with high school:
  • People mostly lie and pretend to build their reputation.
  • Your friend leaves and replaces you. They choose to be with popular people.
  • The pressure of being a famous and trying hard to maintain a good reputation.
  • Experiencing hidden politics.
  • Not wanting to go to prom because no one asks you to be their partner.
  • Love life that is really just an infatuation and that doesn’t last.
  • Some mother doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.

I will say that Shug, the main character, is not a good role model here. It’s hard to blame how immature young kids are because it’s what it is in real life. I’ve been there too, anyway. It seems that a sequel is needed as there’s hardly a mature moral lesson here except “That’s life! That’s what usually happens in real life, you cannot change how the world is (but you can change yourself).” Back to the ugly side, popularity means a lot for those who are selfish in life. Shug ignored Sherilyn because of that. It’s not a good example for the youth. It sucks, but it mostly happens in life.

I was carried away when Shug was humiliated. It’s heartbreaking to overhear your own childhood friend back stabs you in front of his/her new set of friends. Of all the people, diba! Betrayal is a common experience in growing up so it’s easy to empathise and feel sorry for Shug. It’s easy for Shug to forgive though. Even if they reconcile, the closure for me is not enough. I want to know the reason behind those jerky actions!

I need to reread it again to make sure that the contents are really kid friendly and suitable to the culture here. Jenny Han’s other books has some life spoilers and tactless thoughts about human anatomy especially her main bestselling books. It doesn’t come to a point where the actual adult thing happens so it is still wholesome depending on the age of the reader. Since I’m slowly getting immune, I can’t recall the level and intensity it has.

Redundant from Jenny Han’s other books:
  • He’s missing one of his front teeth
  • It’s in the way she touches people, looks at people like they’re something special even when they’re not.
  • I eat lunch by myself in the girl’s bathroom.


Once Mairi and Hadley and that kind of girl decide you’re not good enough, you never will be. You just won’t. And the sooner you realize that, the better.

Shug, if you can’t see your own worth, you sure as hell can’t expect someone else to.”

People are gonna disappoint you sometimes. We are 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”

It doesn’t mean anything. They could have hated me just as easily. People will love you or hate you for being different, but who’s to say which way it’ll go? You never know. It’s completely arbitrary.



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