Almost Home is one of those stories that hooks the reader from the first page. It is a story of loss, struggle, and the strength of a family’s love that is told from the perspective of Sugar, a 12-year old who seems wiser than her years. Sugar is living with her mom in Missouri when things start to unravel for them. Her mom loses her job, and then they lose their home. They relocate to a shelter at first, which forces Sugar to leave the school and teacher she loves. At the promise of a job, her mom relocates them to Chicago. Shush, a mistreated but loyal puppy, falls into their lives and makes the journey with them. At times, Sugar has to act as the responsible one in the mother-daughter relationship, and Shush helps them deal with life’s hardships. When the job doesn’t come through, Sugar’s mom withdraws and is admitted to a hospital. Finally, Sugar and her mother are given the love and support they have desperately needed. Step by step, they rebuild their lives. Sugar’s voice lends an honesty and purity to the story, and her flair for writing and polite but strong personality makes her a character that readers should root for. Joan Bauer’s award-winning writing once again succeeds in building a memorable story around moving characters. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 9.13.12