Almost Home is an inspirational middle grade book about a girl and her dog fighting against the odds. Sugar is in the sixth grade, and has a lot of burdens to carry. Her grandfather died, her father stole money and ran off, and she is losing her home. When the two end up on the streets, her mom Reba falls apart, landing her in a psychiatric hospital and Sugar in foster care. Luckily, Sugar has her puppy, Shush, and the inspirational emails of her favorite teacher to help her. Through writing poetry and positive thinking, Sugar begins to realize that she has more power to change her life for the better than she thinks.
I read this book many times when I was younger years ago, but I recently picked it up again. I loved it then and I love it now! The puppy on the cover is adorable, and Shush proves the need for therapy dogs. Animals really do help people feel better, and Shush made Almost Home lighthearted and hopeful in depressing times.
Sugar is just as sweet as her name, writing thank-you letters to everyone and always being nice to the bullies. She has a desire to make the world become as sweet as she is, and Sugar demonstrates qualities of compassion and empathy for others, as well as a very clear insight to life. She writes poems in every chapter, putting words to her pain and observations. Sugar is twelve years old, and she is able to articulate the ignorance of others and the reality of situations. She has a gift for seeing the world for what it really is. Sugar is as sweet as an angel, and inspires children and adults to be kind to everybody.
I highly recommend this book!
Title: Almost Home
Author: Joan Bauer
Publisher: Puffin Books
Rating: 5 Stars