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Contributor(s): Bauer, Joan

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ISBN: 0142427489     ISBN-13: 9780142427484
Publisher: Puffin
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: August 2013

Annotation: The Newbery Honor-winning author of Hope Was Here offers the story of sixth-grader Sugar and her mother, who lose their beloved house and experience the harsh world of homelessness.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Homeless persons; Fiction.
Mothers and daughters; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Homelessness & Poverty
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2013033261
Lexile Measure: 590
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 4.75" W x 0.75" (0.50 lbs) 264 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 154885
Reading Level: 3.7   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 6.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q59277
Reading Level: 3.3   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 10.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): iv> Joan Bauer has won critical acclaim for her many books, which include the Newbery Honor Book Hope Was Here as well as Rules of the Road, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Close to Famous, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, the Christopher Medal, and the Judy Lopez Memorial Prize. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring)
Because Sugar's mother can't resist the persuasions of Sugar's gambling father, the worst happens and they're evicted from their house. Sugar eventually ends up in a foster home where she finds space to deal with her "broken places." Sugar's observations on how people treat the poor and homeless come organically from her character; her mixture of distrust and longing for connection rings true.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #5)
Like so many of Bauer's endearing heroines, Sugar is a girl with a good head on her shoulders, which she needs in order to face a world in which the adults can be so unreliable. Her mother Reba can't resist the persuasions of Sugar's gambling father, whom Sugar refers to as Mr. Leeland: "Is she kidding? Trusting Mr. Leeland to pay back money was like trusting a dog to watch your food." When the worst happens and they are evicted from their house, Sugar moves through a series of uncomfortable living situations, finally ending up in a foster home where she finds the space she needs to deal with her "broken places." Sugar's wise, often tart observations on how people treat the poor and homeless come organically from her character, and her mixture of distrust and longing for connection rings true. With its cover showing Sugar holding an adorable puppy in her arms, this novel will sell itself. susan dove lempke

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 August #1)

Twelve-year-old Sugar Mae Cole has had to act older than her age ever since her beloved grandfather died, and her father abandoned Sugar and her mother, Reba, yet again. But when they lose their house, Sugar must summon additional strength as she and Reba face homelessness. "Before all this happened/ I wasn't brave like I am now./ I didn't know I could take care of my mother/ or pee by the side of the road/ and not get my underpants wet," writes Sugar, a talented poet. She relies on her poetry, along with support from a loving foster family and a favorite teacher, when the stress of their circumstances drives Reba to a serious breakdown. Bauer (Close to Famous) explores a timely issue through the eyes of a resilient girl—the kind of heroine so familiar to Bauer's fans. Sugar's anger, fear, humility, and resolve are portrayed with insight and compassion. Bauer also brings moments of levity and hopefulness to the story, which she peppers with a cast of thoughtfully crafted personalities. Ages 10–up. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 October)

Gr 5–8—When Sugar Mae Cole is given a small, discarded puppy named Shush, she decides that he will become a helper dog. And help he does throughout her ordeal of losing her house, her mom's spiraling depression, moving from a small Missouri town to Chicago, and living in foster care. Sugar appreciates the importance of writing, which she learned from Mr. Bennett, her slightly eccentric but astute and talented sixth-grade teacher and from her mom, who has always emphasized the importance of writing thank-you notes. Her narration effectively includes her poetry, emails, thank-you notes, and reflections to reveal a resilient, thoughtful girl. As her name suggests, she tries to bring "a little sweetness into people's lives… [but, she knows] sweet doesn't mean stupid." Her philosophy, that if one "looks hard enough, there's always something to be grateful for," is especially hard to abide after her grandfather dies and her father takes off again, leaving a huge gambling debt. The conclusion is hopeful and satisfying. Though Sugar is still in a foster home, she and Shush become catalysts that empower Reba to stand up to her twice-ex-husband, help friends revitalize a business, and more. In her correspondence with Mr. Bennett, Sugar begins to feel ready to start a new life in seventh grade. Told with humor and pathos, the narrative is full of quirky, likable characters, all of whom are three-dimensional. Sugar's writing is sophisticated and touching, appropriate for a child who is thrust into an adult role. Altogether, a memorable novel that is sure to have broad appeal.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

[Page 123]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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