|Sugar Run by Mesha Maren. Quilt by Nancy A. Bekofske|
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.
Jodi first takes a bus in the other direction, on a mission to fulfill Paula's intent to save her younger brother Ricky from their abusive father. Along the way, Jodi meets Miranda, a needy young mother of three who latches onto Jodi like a drowning woman to a life raft.
This makeshift family--Miranda and her boys and Ricky--travel with Jodi to her home in the Appalachian mountains where she hopes they can find a refuge.
They move into Jodi's grandmother's abandoned cabin where she was raised. As the fracking operation pushes closer to them, Jodi's brothers draw her into their illegal activities. Jodi falls for Miranda who slips back to her dependency on pills. And questions arise about Ricky's past.
In Sugar Run by Mesha Maren, an ominous cloud compelled me to turn pages. Backstory chapters reveal Jodi's story, and Miranda's and Ricky's stories are unraveled. It appears that their futures are mired in decisions made long ago.
The story ends with violence and heartache, but also with hope as Jodi realizes there is a future beyond home and it's web to the past.
This is an impressive first novel with memorable characters and polished writing.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Read an excerpt at
There is something essential and powerful that keeps me coming back, and
I feel like Jodi and I both realized at some point that although the home
you’ve recalled so vividly during all your years away is a place that only truly
exists in your heart and your dreams, it will always be inextricably a part of
who you are.
from Montani Semper Liberi, an essay by Mesha Maren
Sugar Run: A Novel
by Mesha Maren
Publication date January 08, 2019
$26.95 (USA) hardcover