Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sugar by Dierdre Riordan Hall ARC Book Review

I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.
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.
A special thanks to Amazon and Skyscape Publishing for this review copy!
What a great book. I was conflicted by it at first because I wasn't sure how to rate it--but after I let it marinate a bit, I really, truly, realized how great this book really was.
This book read exactly how I would have wanted it to. The characters were written realistically, so realistically that I actually felt for these characters. I felt a connection to them, in a friendly way. I felt like I knew them, or wanted to know them.
Let's talk about Sugar, Sugar in all her "fat" glory was the shining star of this novel. Sugar Legowski-Gracia is like cinderella. She is the black sheep of the family. She is an object of ridicule in school and in her home--and she loses herself, and her sadness in food--in sweets. This gives her, her name.
I loved Sugar because despite her weakness for food--she still managed to keep her wits about her. I liked the fact that although she was constantly being beat down by both her family and her classmates--a large part of her remained strong. Even in her weakest moments I found her to be strong. Then she met, Even and got stronger.
Even, was like this mirror, that when asked, "Who was the fairest of them all?," he constantly said it was Sugar. He constantly placed himself in a position where he lifted Sugar up in a way she was never lifted up before--and for that I adored him. His character wasn't overbearing, or even wordy but he was presence--a necessary presence. He changed the pace of the story and this was a good thing.
The mother and the brother, these two. *pauses* These two, didn't deserve the good they got. They were tough to read but aside from them, the book was great. Obviously all characters can't be lovable, and in this case that was the intention. I loved the way the author dealt with the mother and brother even though I hated them, she made this book realistic with the way she portrayed them and I liked that.
I also really enjoyed the way the author dealt with obesity in this novel, it wasn't sugar coated or brushed over. That was fantastic. It read like a biography because, it just came off that realistic.
Before I conclude this review, I want to mention that there is a part that is going to shock you and boy was I not expecting it. I just wanna--I just wanted to be alone after that. I know I'm being vague but what kind of reviewer would I be if I didn't warn you? 
All in all I loved Sugar. It was an easy read with solid, realistic characters, with friendships/relationships you want to root for. For those of you who aren't big on romance, this was no sweet, sugary (ha, I'm punny ;P) novel. There's romance but it's told in a way that is probably more realistic than most.
I just really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to see what else Hall come's up with!


  1. I've never heard of this book but it sounds wonderful. I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR list.

  2. Great review!

    I haven't seen this book before but it sounds really good. I'm going to have to read it! :)

  3. Ok, you've piqued my interest with the shocking thing, I may have to read this just to know! Great review, glad you enjoyed it! ~Pam

  4. I'd love to check out this book! It seems to be on the tough side but I like that it stays realistic. Great review, Jazmen! I'll add this to my tbr.