Almost Home: A Book Review


Almost Home

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Summary: When twelve-year-old Sugar’s grandfather dies and her gambling father takes off yet again, Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri. They head to Chicago for a fresh start, only to discover that fresh starts aren’t so easy to come by for the homeless. Nevertheless, Sugar’s mother has taught her to be grateful no matter what, so Sugar does her best. With the help of a rescue dog, Shush; a foster family; a supportive teacher; a love of poetry; and her own grace and good humor, Sugar comes to understand that while she can’t control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds.

{kindly taken from Amazon}

My Thoughts: I have always enjoyed Joan Bauer’s way of writing with such passion and feeling, so I was happy to find her newest book tucked into a shelf at the local library. Who knew it was even out?! A fairly short read, Almost Home packs a powerful message with a wonderful protagonist. I really liked this one!

Sugar hasn’t had the best childhood so far between her absent father and the struggle to keep their home. Finally, one day, the bank has to kick Sugar, and her mother, Reba, out and it all moves downhill from there. What I loved about this story was that Bauer really looked into Sugar’s story. The attention to detail was incredible, and I sympathized with Sugar throughout the entire book! She had such a rough life, but I loved that Sugar could keep her head up and look for the positives. I think because of her “glass half full” attitude that she makes a really good role model, especially when compared to the love-struck ones I have been used to.

I did find that the absent father/not completely healthy mother aspect was getting old {you will not believe the amount of books I have read with that storyline!} but I didn’t mind it so much in this one because the author was able to develop the mother and the daughter at the same time. Sugar and Reba had their flaws, of course, but for the most part, they showed growth throughout the novel, which is important. Other characters I loved included Mr. B, Sugar’s awesome and supportive teacher, and Joonie, a friend Sugar makes along the way. The secondary characters all added to the story, while also having sub-plots of their own.

The pacing of the story was solid, and I think that the chapters moved quickly. I really liked all of Sugar’s poems sprinkled here and there; they were SO, so good! :) Overall, Joan Bauer did another terrific job writing about a topic that leads to great discussion. This is a good choice for a book club, mainly because I think you can talk about so much regarding Sugar and her losing of her home.

Pros: Developed characters and strong plot.

Cons: Nothing!

Heads Up: Drunk father that appears at that end.

Overall: I give it 5 stars {*****} and I recommend it for ages 11 and up.

Have a happy Sunday! :)



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