By: Carly Nugent
Genre: YFN - Family & home stories
Published by: Text Publishing
Published: 29 Mar 2022
ISBN: 9781922330741


A realist YA novel, by the author of The Peacock Detectives, about family, loss and coming to terms with diabetes as a teen.
What's yours is yours for a reason. Luck has nothing to do with it.

Some people get exactly what they deserve. And, as it turns out, I deserve to be called Persephone. No simple-to-sound-out Pride-and-Prejudice-style name like Elizabeth or Jane for me. Nope. Demi had to go Greek. Define Persephone. Bringer of destruction. That pretty much sums it up.

Persephone is angry. Angry that her life revolves around finger-prick tests, carbohydrate counts and insulin injections. Angry at Alexander Manson. Angry with her mum for lots of things, for nothing and for everything.

But most of all, she's angry with herself. For deserving it all. Because of what she did, or didn't do. Because one year ago she did something and her dad died.

But then Persephone finds a body on a bush path, a young woman she doesn't know but feels a strong connection to. And as she tries to find out what happened to Sylvia, Persephone begins to understand her own place in the complex interconnectedness of the universe.

Sugar is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl trying to make sense of the life-changing events that have sent her world into a spin, her search for a reason behind it all, and ultimately her acceptance of life's randomness.

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This is Carly Nugent’s first novel for YA readers, and I’m sure it won’t be her last.

Persephone is a teenager who is trying to deal with being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, at the same time as her Dad dies. She blames herself for her Dad’s death, and thinks getting diabetes is the universe’s way of telling her that it is all she deserves.

She is a complex character, but feels so authentic that you can’t help but want to be her friend. There is also a strong cast of characters who all play vital roles in her life, including her mum, Demi, who is trying to deal with her own grief, her Mum’s best friend, Iris, and her son Steven, who live with them to escape an abusive partner.

Then there are Alexander Mason and Joseph Barrett, who both seem to have inserted themselves in Persephone’s life, whether she wants them to or not.

This is a story most teenagers will relate to in some way. There is very strong language used at times throughout the story, but it is in context with Persephone’s life and her anger at the world. It’s a story of hope, friendship and learning to accept that life is never going to be perfect or fair, and that this can be one of life’s hardest lessons.

A wonderful story, perfect for those 16 and older.

Reviewed by Michelle