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Sugar Run

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,253 ratings  ·  373 reviews
On the far side the view was nothing but ridgelines, the craggy silhouettes rising up against the night sky like the body of some dormant god. Jodi felt her breath go tight in her chest. This road went only one way, it seemed, in under the mountains until you were circled.

In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she’s sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Algonquin Books
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Akeiisa At some point where Jodi is reflecting on the past, we learn about Paula's gambling and she says something about being on a sugar run (lucky streak) w…moreAt some point where Jodi is reflecting on the past, we learn about Paula's gambling and she says something about being on a sugar run (lucky streak) while playing poker. (less)

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Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,253 ratings  ·  373 reviews

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Larry H
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

There are some books which fill you with a sense of foreboding the minute you start reading them, sort of the way you may be poised to put your hands over your eyes when watching a scary movie—you know something bad will happen, but you just don't know when.

That's the way I felt while reading Mesha Maren's Sugar Run . This novel about a woman's quest for a new beginning even though she quickly falls into all of her old habits isn't scary, but you can just feel that things could fall
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Good Lort. I am finally done with this book!!!!!!!

This is an actual picture of me for the last 2 months reading it.

That's right. Two months.

So you have Jodi who is just getting out of prison. She was convicted of manslaughter and has finally got the freedom call. She keeps thinking about some land she supposedly has in West she is going to head towards that.
(Do I sound bored?? WELL I AM..that's all this book is going to get)

But first...right after she is released from prison sh
Susanne  Strong
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
3.75 Stars* (rounded up).

There are times, when the cards are stacked against you. Be it of your own making or simply the cut of the deck on any given day. In “Sugar Run” - try as hard as she might, Jodi just can’t catch a break.

Seventeen years ago, in 1989, Jodi was arrested for manslaughter. She spent eighteen years in prison and honestly never imagined she’d get out. Yet here she is. Her destination is her Grandmother’s Effie’s cabin in West Virginia - which her Grandmother left to Jodi as a l

4.5 Stars

”I was raised up from tiny
childhood in those purple hills,
right slam on the brink of language”

-- Denis Johnson

The women in the prison where Jodi is in residence have no idea what the landscape outside looked like, except the prison yard. As this story begins, Jodi is in the process of being released after eighteen years at Jaxton, she’d never known that there were mountains all around.

“From the exercise yard she had seen only what was straight above, a sometimes gray, sometimes bl
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Jodi Mccarty is 35 years old and has just been released from prison. She was incarcerated for seventeen years after shooting her girlfriend in a jealous rage. Her plan is to head back to West Virginia where she will live on her grandmother’s land. On her journey, she makes a stop in Georgia to help her late girlfriend's brother who grew up in an abusive home. There, she unexpectedly meets and quickly falls for a twenty-five-year-old drug addict named Miranda who is struggling to raise three youn ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Blurbed by Scott McClanahan and Lauren Groff, agent Bill Clegg, published by Algonquin, Sugar Run is about a woman who was sentenced at 17 for murder and then without warning released and left without any resources to return home to West Virginia. The story alternates between 2007 ("present" day) and 1989 to fill in the gaps. I can't say I "enjoyed" it per se, that's not the right word for it, because the premise is dark, the main character is flawed and violent, and so is the world she is tryin ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I usually try to work through my galleys in the order I receive them, so I started reading SUGAR RUN when I found myself awake in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep. When I read the first few pages and realized that this was a lyrical novel with lovely prose and a loose plot about a woman who's just been released from prison, I thought maybe I should put it down and read something else. But I ended up reading it for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, and for days a ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
This debut novel isn't bad, but it's lacking a sense of urgency. Maren finds a poetic language to contrast the beauty of the natural world in Appalachia (threatened by fracking enterprises) with the decaying man-made structures and disenfranchised population (threatened by poverty). At age 17, our protagonist Jodi tried to flee the forlornness and emptiness, but things didn't turn out as the naive young girl hoped - fast forward: She spends 18 years in prison for murdering her girlfriend. We mee ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the chance to read and review this ARC. Publication date January 8, 2019.

I am not sure exactly what it was that I was expecting or waiting for in this book, but it never seemed to materialize. For a debut novel there was plenty of action in the story, some good character development and a plausible plot, but for me it just missed the mark.

The story of a young Appalachian girl imprisoned for manslaughter. Once released she headed home to cl
Bill Kupersmith
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mesha Maren’s Sugar Run is a women-on-the-run story times two. In 2007 Jodi McCarty has been released from prison in Georgia after serving 18 years for manslaughter, and joins up with Miranda, estranged wife of C&W singer and mother of three. In the backstory set in 1988, the 17 year-old Jodi dumps her chem teacher at a casino in Wheeling, West Virginia, for Paula, a tattooed professional gambler, embarking on a cross country expedition that takes them to Baja and back. When Paula’s poker-playin ...more
‘Sugar Run’ by Mesha Maren is her debut novel about thirty-five-year-old Jodi McCarty, released from Jaxton Prison after serving eighteen years. Jodi isn’t placed in a reentry program; just supervised release with scheduled check-ins with a parole officer. As Jodi leaves the prison where she’s been an inmate for the last eighteen years, she sees mountains and realizes that she never knew they existed here, in this particular place, having seen only the flatness of her exercise yard. This is a ve ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: publisher-sent
From the beginning, I had the feeling that things were not going to turn out well for Jodi.

After serving eighteen years of a lifetime prison sentence, Jodi is free under supervised release. The jails are overcrowded, and she was only seventeen when convicted of killing her girlfriend Paula. She is given a bus ticket and sent into the world to report to her home district parole officer.

But Jodi instead takes a bus in the other direction, to save Paula's younger brother Ricky from their abusive fa
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jodi McCarty is out of jail, after having spent 18 years imprisoned for manslaughter. She has only two things in mind – rescue her old lover’s brother, Ricky, from his abusive father and then go home to the land in West Virginia that her grandmother, Effie, left her. As she sets out to do that, she meets and falls in love with Miranda. Miranda has her own problems. She’s estranged from her husband, a washed-up singer, who has taken her three sons from her. Jodi and Miranda help each other and be ...more
Laura • lauralovestoread
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 3.75/5 stars for Sugar Run!!

I was due for a literary fiction novel and Sugar Run gave me just what I was looking for. Jodi and Miranda wind up on a road trip of sorts, as they make their way to Jodi’s grandmothers home in West Virginia. Maren gives readers a wonderful character study with Jodi, as we see a woman with so much grit and realness, yearning for a better life. Written in such lovely prose and dealing with the dynamics of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration, and government hard
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I found this book to be a huge disappointment. The narrative moves back and forth following Jodi before and after her release from prison.
The story is confusing at best and extremely unsatisfying. As I reached the end, I questioned why I had continued to read on. I have no satisfactory answer.
This book was a disappointment. It was also a tad boring, surprising since the premise doesn't sound like that at all. The book starts with Jodi just being released out of jail after 18 years, early even, after killing her girlfriend Paula. The book slowly tells you the story of what led up to the shooting, was it an accident, or purposeful? The main part of the book is after she leaves jail. First she wants to get Paula's brother, to save him, as they had always planned. Along the way she picks ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
dang. i liked this so much. first, it's a really well told story of women-loving women. it's not corny, it's not chasey.... it's romantic and rompy and hardscrabble. both the women are hard-done-by west virginians, working class, with a punishing past, and they, well, they get together, and sort of build something. there's not much smooching or sexying, but there is something akin to love, a growing tenderness, and it's really nice, and well written.

but, also, the story is so well said. it's li
Jason McKinney
I'm so glad to be done with this. I'm absolutely baffled as to how a 320 page book could feel so incredibly endless. Sugar Run? More like Molasses Crawl.

The writing is well done, particularly the descriptions of the Appalachian locale and the characters are well drawn, too. The problem is the narrative tension. There isn't any. The plot crosscuts between two time lines and every time one of them picks up momentum, we're drawn back to the other one and everything goes completely slack again.

Jerrie (redwritinghood)
For some reason, I was never able to really become invested in the characters in this one. Jodi is released from prison as the book opens. She returns home, but picks up Miranda and her sons along the way. The story flashes back and forth between the past, where we learn why Jodi killed her former lover, and the present. The past doesn’t really seem to impact the myriad issues she faces once she’s released, however, so I’m not sure what that aspect added to the story. I also found the ending to ...more
Rhiannon Johnson
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Check out my full review on my blog:

You know how I kept bitching about the repackaged and mass-produced mediocre stories that publishers are throwing mega marketing dollars at in hopes that some of it sticks and people will say they love it "because everyone else does"? Well...I just finished Sugar Run and *BOOM*...finally, a book with a backbone! In the vein of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone or Laura McHugh's Weight of Blood (read my review of Weight of
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sugar Run had the potential to be a really interesting story about poverty and abuse and recidivism and instead it turned into a soap opera of extremely unlikeable characters. I love the occasional flowery description as much as the next girl but the number of adjectives on every page of this book was astounding. Overall underwhelming.

Also someone please bring those three boys back to Neenee's house jfc
Lindsay Hunter
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every sentence is perfect. A book that lets you settle in and breathe, then knocks the breath right out of you.
Margo Littell
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc

At seventeen, Jodi was imprisoned for what she’s always maintained was a gun accident that left her girlfriend, Paula, dead. Now, released after serving eighteen years of her sentence, Jodi is free. She meets a wayward single mother, Miranda, who is barely managing to care for herself and three young sons. Miranda agrees to help Jodi keep the promise she made to Paula years ago: to rescue Paula’s little brother, Ricky, from their violent father. Of course, Ricky is no longer a scared child--he’s
Erin Glover
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The writing is gorgeous. I felt as though I were in West Virginia, marveling at the lush Appalachian Mountains. This is a story we don't often read about--what life is like for an ex-convict returning to life in rural Appalachia. The protagonist is gay an orientation that is dangerous in hillbilly country.

The story is about a woman who is released from prison after serving nearly 20 years. She has visions for a new life. But it seems that she is destined to repeat her past mistakes. Her metamorp
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A 17 year old is locked away for life, only to be granted early release. As she makes her way to her beloved patch of land in West Virginia, she comes across a young mother, desperate to reunite with her small sons. Add addictions, pills, fracking, more pills, scientology, country music, gambling, drugs (and not just pills), parole officers, rich hippy, messy family dynamics, poor choices, late 1980s, 2007, and scrappy optimism, and you on your way to your own Sugar Run.
Jessica Sullivan
At the heart of this gritty debut is a damaged woman seeking redemption. Jodi has just been released from prison after 18 years. Her goal is to return home to land she grew up on in the Appalachian mountains, but not until she finds Ricky, the mentally disabled younger brother of her former lover, Paula.

Along the way, she meets Miranda, a young mother of three boys who has faced her own set of challenges. Together, they seek to build a life together, though there’s a sense that they’re doomed fr
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The darkness shrieks like a guitar whine, slow and sultry until the loudness overtakes everything else that is expertly revealed. The prose is mind-blowing, turning over and over, not one word too many, opening up every aspect and emotion of these women’s lives. The story itself is a heady mix of Orange is the New Black, Jar of Hearts, and The Wildlands, touched with A Star is Born (2018), shaken and dropped into super-small-town, drug-riddled America. This book is all too timely, displaying how ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry, but this was simply atrocious dreck. The plot was laughable from the get-go. Woman gets out of prison for unknown crime, immediately picks up a random man who may or may not be a child murderer, a pyromaniac and/or cognitively disabled, a random woman and her three random kids (treated throughout like plot devices notable mainly for the frequent repetition of their names, which nevertheless leaves them completely unmemorable and indistinguishable) for a random trip to a falling down s ...more
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
"After school I used to go on these walks," Miranda said. "We lived in this subdivision, one of those with the houses with fake shutters glued up beside all of the windows and they were always building new homes. But down at the end of my road everything turned to fields, just big, blank, muddy fields. And I used to walk. I'd go to the dead end and find a leaf or grass. I'd hold it up and let the wind take it, and whatever direction it blew, that's where I'd go. I knew if I kept walking long eno ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019, ebook
Pretty depressing and just didn’t go anywhere. Jodi has just gotten paroled and basically falls right back into her old ways, even when trying her best not to. While that is believable, she quickly falls into a relationship with a woman that i just do not understand the allure/connection and all the drama associated with it. Could have been an interesting book on how it is extremely difficult to go back to the straight and narrow from a rural area and being a felon. The lack of legit opportuniti ...more
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