Its the summer before seventh grade as this story begins and Annemarie known as Shug has begun to notice boys in a romantic way. She is especially interested in her long time childhood best friend Mark. When school starts kids quickly pair off into their first dating couples. Mark chooses Hadley. Heartbroken Annemarie cannot even consider any other guys, even though one or two others express interest. In particular Jack, who she is tutoring, who has family situations similar to hers and with whom she has shared this, Jack wants to be her date. Self-centered Shug cannot see this at least yet. It seems that even her new best girlfriend Elaine, the girl she dumped Sherilyn for, has gone on to another group of kids with whom Shug just doesn't fit. And, always an A student Shug has one teacher who does not like her and won't give her an A. Central to the plot is the coming 7th grade dance, preparing for it by buying clothing, serving on committees and asking a special someone to go with and finally attending.
How Shug deals with the troubles in her life ring true. None of them are over the top awful. Shug could be almost any 7th grade girl. This is the first book I've read for a while and found truly worth reading. Its a good one for readers of Van Drannen's Flipped. Older teens could go on and read Sarah Dessen's stories. JDW 4/5/08