Almost Home

( 74 )

Overview

Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer's new novel will touch your heart

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 ...

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Almost Home

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Overview

Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer's new novel will touch your heart

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Through months of homelessness and her mother's breakdown, sixth-grader Sugar Mae Cole and her puppy, Shush, demonstrate what it means to be sweet. Newbery Honor winner Bauer (Hope Was Here, 2000) has created one of her strongest young women yet in the character of Sugar, writer of thank-you notes and poetry, dog-walker, parent-educator and trust-trainer. Her chronological first-person narration works, with notes, emails and poems to document the pain of dealing with an unreliable father, the difficulty of leaving a familiar home and beloved teacher, and the conflicted feelings of a child in a good foster-care situation. Sugar's mother, Reba, has trusted her gambling husband too many times. Can Reba develop the strength to resist him? Luckily, this resilient child has always had the support of other adults: first her grandfather, King Cole; then Mr. B., the sixth-grade teacher who encourages her writing and stays in touch; and, finally, Lexie and Mac, experienced foster parents who provide a safe haven but know when to let go. Sugar's voice is convincing, both as storyteller and young writer; her natural good humor shines through what could be a sad story indeed. Quirky supporting characters--both human and dog--add to its appeal. Sugar, with her natural gift for rubbing down imperfections, will win readers' hearts. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142427484
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 8/29/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 44,013
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Read an Excerpt

I had a long night. I kept getting out of bed and walking through the house, remembering when we moved here after Reba and Mr. Leeland got divorced the first time. I was in second grade, and King Cole and Reba scraped together all they had and bought this house together. We were so proud to have our own little place. We painted the front door emerald green. It wasn’t the best paint job, but I remember going through that door and feeling my life was fresh and new and all the shadows from Mr. Leeland’s gambling were behind us. King Cole and I painted the wooden fence white and we fixed the cement steps. Reba and I planted peonies in the garden, and she repaired the rips in the screen door with clear nail polish. Mr. Leeland lived with us a few times, but he never stayed for long. He only cared if there was food and beer in the refrigerator, but me, Reba, and King Cole took care of this house with everything we had.
            How could we be losing it?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(62)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Almost home

    I' m reading this book right now. I am just kid but this book is overall the best I've read. The author is a very good at what she does. I need to read more of her books. Even though I have not yet finished this book, but I encourge anyone to read it. The poems in this book are vert meaningfull!

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Almost Home

    I am just ten years old and it is the best i have ever read!!!!!!You would love it !!!!!!!!!!I plan on reading all of her books.It is worth that much money!!!!!!!!!If you get it I hope you enjoy it!!!!!!!!!:)

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    JB Is an Amazing Author

    JB describes,in high detail,the life of a girl who goes through heck,all b/c of her " Dad".This book is simular to my situation,except for a few factors.

    First her dad just leaves her & her mom.Then the rest of her family turns away from her.They head to Chigago,where one of her friebds,so called,lives.Her friend said they could live with her,but her number is. Disconnected.So they live on the streets .and her mom has a panic attack and her mom goes to the hospital b/c she is seriously ill,and she goes to foster care until shes better.....FIND OUT WHAT IS NEXT MWAHAHAHA })

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    If you havent read this......This is for you!

    Sugar Mae Cole has always been a girl who knows how to look on the bright side.But when she loses her home and ends up in foster care,she wonders if shell ever see the bright side again.Luckily,Sugar Mae is a girl who wont give up on her dreams for long!A novel with an attitude for gratitude!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2012

    A vivid picture of a 12 yr old homeless girl.

    This book vividly illustrates what a child goes through when she is made to be the adult in a relationship. All she wants is to be normal and have a normal life as a kid.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Amazing book!

    Its a really funny and heart warming tale of a girl who gets put into foster care while her mom is sick and she helps her new neighbors learn how to be bold.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Is it good?

    Ok,I am only 9 but I want 2 know if it is good.If anyone is reading this i need a reply if it is worth itor if i am wasting my money.So please reply b/c i want 2 know, like, now!!!!!!!!!!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    The book is agreat insperation

    If you like poems dogs and a heart warming story this is for you

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    Dr jay

    The best book ever from the first line to the last word. I LOVED it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Great

    Its GREEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!@:)

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    WOW

    This was an AMAZING book! It talks about the amazing story about Sugar Mae Cole. It has changed my whoes perspective about homeless people and foster care

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    MUST READ

    This is the sweetest combination of what it feels like to be left out or in a new place, missing someone, and growing up. I can totally relate to that. This is a must read for all 9-13 year old girls!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    amazing

    This book is an inspiring heartfelt novel

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Best of Joan

    This book has taught me a lot about trust, hope, and faith. I think this is the best of Joan sonfar and she will continue this journey<3

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Love

    This book is touching and inspiring me to write a good book like this.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Chloe

    So good never read any thing better this my favorite book ever

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Loved it!!

    I loved this book it defanatly thouched my heart.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Great.

    I really enjoyed reading it. I had to read it for my summer reading for school. The book is a great description of how tough life is and how it can get better at times.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    The D

    That was one amazing story. Made me sad but loved it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    READ IT

    READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!!! DO NOT FAIL ME, READ IT!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews

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