Sugar Rush – Julie Burchill

“She grabbed the fags and walked on ahead. I looked around for someone else to walk home with; I was just crossing the road to give Chloe Feinstein the pleasure of my company, when Saint yelled out, ‘Oi, white trash! Lewis! Get your sad ass over here!’”
Kimmys life is being turned upside down; her mums left, her best friend since childhood turned into a bitch and her dads had to pull her out of Preston High – the all girls private school – and place her into to Ravendene Comp. The girls are all knwon slags and her life was pretty crappy before this but hopefully with the notorious Maria Sweet, or more likely known as Sugar, on her side she’ll make it through her time at school smoothly and normally… or not.

I re-read Sugar Rush as a Part of Portrait of a Woman’s Lesbian in YA Lit week. It was a perfect excuse for a re-read as I’ve been meaning to for ages! I first read Sugar Rush in 2005; I was 16, in my first year of college and to be honest, thinking a lot of things over myself. I loved it back then because it’s brilliantly realistic view of life and reading it again six years (has it really been that long!?) later I was not disappointed
Kims life is pretty crap and in many ways Kim reminded me of a younger me… but much younger than when I read this first time round! I think I was like Kim at 11 or 12. I was so eager to please and be friends with the popular girls that it didn’t matter what I wanted. Kim did annoy me a bit but I think she’d resorted to being younger and earned for attention and love from her best friends due to her mother being an utter loser and abandoning her.
The LGBT themes in this book are what drew me to it in the first place. I’ve always been a very liberal type of girl and a very, shall we say flexible girl. I don’t like to label anyone, especially not myself but back when I was 16 I was pretty confused about what exactly I wanted out of life and how to be myself. This book helped me realise that you really do have to be yourself and not wrap yourself up in what everyone elses view is of life. You have to be who you want to be and life the live you want to and of course that might sound like a terrible cliché but this book spins if in such a brilliant way you can ignore it a bit!
Sugar Rush isn’t for the prude or the narrow minded, I would honestly say that had my nana seen what I was reading she probably would have taken it off me. Thankfully my parents are pretty laid back and even though I believe my mum had seen some of the TV version of Sugar Rush she was fine with me reading it. Theres a lot of sex and swearing and drug use, and total bitchiness! It is a 15 year old girls life and I love it for that.
When it comes to what I love and hate about this book is a bit strange as both of them are Kim. I hate that she is a like a puppy, just begging for love and attention and doing anything to please. I think this can be excused a bit due to the fact her mums just upped and left and she’s confused to hell about her sexuality and what fancying her best friend means! I think the whole thing comes across really well and she acts pretty much how a naive love struck teen girl does in when they don’t realise the other person is stringing them along. The thing I loved though was just how normal Kim, Sugar and Saint all were. They were girls I went to school with, girls you saw down the street and they were “mainstream.” So many times I see teen lesbians in books and movies portrayed as “alternative” that it was refreshing!
Overall I love Sugar Rush and if you can get over the fact that Kim is a bit of a pain in the arse who needs a back bone then its definitely an awesome read! I seriously recommend it!
Sugar Rush was published in 2004 by Pan Macmillan. It was Julie Burchill’s first YA novel and was followed up with Sweet. My copy was purchased way back and it’s seriously creased and messy from being read too much!


  • Vivienne

    Never heard of this one but I will look out for it. Lesbian Teen Novels Week seems to have gone over my radar. I didn’t realise it was going on at all. I will look out for more reviews this week.

  • Caroline

    Fantastic review!
    I have this on my TBR pile and can’t wait to get started, I do feel for poor Kim as it is hard to be impose yourself as yourself when everything seems to fall apart. And I am liking the “normal” girls instead of using the stereotypical lesbian attitude!
    Thanks for participating in the week 🙂

  • Lauren

    I definitely know what you mean about loving Kim and hating her. I actually watched the TV series first, and the book is incredibly different – especially in terms of characterisation. Interesting review – thanks!

  • Jules

    I didn’t realise it was Lesbian Teen Novels Week.

    I also didn’t release that this was a book!! I loved the TV series.

    I’m off to go and add this onto my wishlist!

    Great review.

  • Liz. R

    I remember the TV series, but I never read the book! I tried to find it after seeing the show, but my library didn’t have it (because my library never has anything). I’m glad the characters aren’t stereotypical, I really hate that in books – glad you enjoyed, I’m gonna keep an eye out for it!

  • Jesse Owen

    Ooh! I love this review – I’d seen the TV series when I was younger (me and my sister were hooked on it). But my sister read the book and didn’t like it so it kind of put me off.

    But after this review I might just have to investigate it again!

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