Sweet – Julie Burchill

“When I got out of jail with a heroin habit and a fat arse, I really thought that things could only get better. Then I found out that my husband, Mark, the minger, had only run off and taken the baby with him! Not to mention my iPod. I mean, I can have another baby – but it took me two years to put my proper soundtrack together.”
**this is the companion book to Sugar Rush; whilst this review is spoiler free for this book I cannot guarantee that the previous book will remain so!**
Maria Sweet, better known as Sugar, is 17, just out of prison to find that not only has her husband ran off with their baby, but the best friend that she is obviously in love with and can’t keep off her mind is gone too. And not only that; she also has no ipod to drown the sound of the mundane Brighton backdrop to her life! But let’s face it, Sugar has never been one to embrace the boredom of everyday life and chaos seems to follow her around even after shes sworn to be little miss sensible…
Sweet is the second in the two part series of Sugar Rush. The main character has gone from the wonderfully naive and doormat-like Kim to the hard ass Sugar. I can’t say that I loved Sweet as much as I loved Sugar Rush but it was still pretty good.
Pretty much the whole of Sweet is an internal monologue by Sugar. There’s very little dialogue and the narration is all from the point of view of sugar… which is a little, erm, interesting at times! I really think that if you didn’t like Sugar, you would honestly hate this book and it you are offended at all by anything to do with swearing, sex or plain vulgarness then don’t bother reading this one at all!
The story is interesting but I think a little predictable. Sugar Rush is well known for being about lesbian characters but throughout the entirety of this book the lesbian aspect of Sugar is overshadowed by the fact that shes not a lesbian… she’s bi-sexual, and even then you get the hint that it’s just because she’s a selfish cow that wants anyone and anything rather than her actually being attracted to people. She really is a handful and to be honest, it’s my love of the first book that got me through this one!  
Thats not to say it’s not good. I find Sugar’s character intriguing and the book is very action packed so you never get bored. It is like you are Kim from the first book and you are being dragged around whilst Sugar goes off on crazy expeditions! Its hilariously funny and though in some places I was completely appalled, (I mean come on the opening paragraph she’s complaing more about losing her Ipod than her daughter!) its still a half decent read!
There was one major thing wrong with this book and that’s the inconsistencies between the first and second. This one was written after the first was made into a tv series and quite possibly after even the second of that tv series was filemed too… this meant that Kim’s mum in the first book ran off with “dale the decorator” which didn’t happen in the first book but happened in the TV show. Sugar also makes references to other things that happen in the TV show but not in the book and whilst I have watched the shows, I cant remember them as clearly as the first book which I only read a couple of days ago, so it threw me completely. That was the one and only downfall of the book as Sugars character didn’t disgust me too greatly.
Sweet really is an interesting read and to be honest, it shows a lot about how love can affect your life, whether it’s same sex or not. There’s not too much focus on the fact that Sugar is in love with a woman, apart from the blatantly obvious points where Sugar calls herself a “dyke” or refers to Kim as a “lezza.” I did enjoy this book but I don’t think I could re-visit in again and again like its predecessor.
Sweet was published in 2007 by Pan Mcmillan, it is the second in a two part series by Julie Burchill which I believe are her only ventures into YA literature. My copy was purchased when the book came out. I re-read the book as a part of Portrait Of a Woman’s Lesbian Teen Novels Week.


  • Vivienne

    The first paragraph did make me laugh. It is just so blunt. Not sure if I would enjoy this series,especially if the book is inconsistent with the first.

  • Clover

    Huh. I didn’t realise there was a sequel to Sugar Rush, or if I did know that I’d since forgotten it. It’s a shame that this one doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, though I’m still keen to read Sugar Rush!

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