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In My (Book) Bag: Book Review of Sugaring Off by Gillian French

Book cover of Sugaring Off by author Gillian French

Book Review: Another Maine author I’m crazy about right now is Gillian French, who specializes in YA lit. I read both Grit and Sugaring Off, her most recent project (2022). Gillian’s female protagonists are rugged young women who, over time, develop survival skills to cope and grow.

For Sugaring Off’s Owl, who is partially deaf due to an incident that sent her father to prison, the natural world brings peace and protection. When a mysterious young man comes to work at her uncle’s maple sugaring operation and her father is up for parole, Owl must learn to adjust to a new and possibly dangerous world.

Owl reminds me of Ethan, the main protagonist in my YA novel Trapped. About the

same age—late high school—he too must upend a curated peaceful existence when

faced with potentially tragic circumstances.

Sugaring Off is set in the mountains of New Hampshire, where Owl seems to be woven

into the natural environment, more at home there than with the world at large. This book

is a mystery too, so be prepared for a fast-moving plot as well.

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