Notes from Our Discussion About Sugar Town Queens

Sugar Town Queens Created by Mount Scopus Scoop

– The world building was amazing – really felt as though we were there.
– Loved the stark differences between Sugar Town and Duban – this juxtaposition helped us get a sense of who the characters really are.
– Got a very real sense of Amandla and Annalise’s shack especially in comparison to the Bollards’ mansion. It really brought out the difference between rich and poor.
– The thread with Jacob maybe didn’t contribute to the story? Perhaps it wasn’t as important as other characters and their stories?
– Disagree, Jacob’s character helped us understand the dangerousness of the area, their lives and how they act to protect themselves. Jacob’s character helped us understand the setting and the kind of people the teenagers had to face day-to-day.
– The character of Jacob showed us what was a normal part of life in Sugar Town i.e. they could be harassed on the street.
– Jacob’s death triggered Annalise’s own realisation.
– Having Jacob as a character helped me understand what Sugar Town is like as a place; wouldn’t have understood the depth of danger if he wasn’t part of the novel.
– Sarah: Has seen a real-life documentary on South African shanty towns and felt that the novel really portrayed the setting accurately.
– Although they live in slums, they still live fully expressed lives in an interesting way, albeit more resourcefully and often just as happy without the never-ending desire for consumerism.
– From the cover, thought the book was going to be about a sweet town, which shows us that not everything is as it seems and that names can be deceptive.
– It was a powerful moment when Father Gibson was confused that a Bollard (rich family) would end up in such a place such as Sugar Town.
– I would have loved this book to be longer – would have liked to see how Amandla and Annalisa would fare in the rich area of Durban; would they fit in?
– Would love a Sugar Town sequel!

– Loved all the characters: each character felt real and each had deep feelings.
– Could understand where each character was coming from and why they made the choices that they did.
– The grandmother was an amazing character. She was just the wife of a racist, but was left without much choice in her life because her controlling and aggressive husband took control of how they lived and who they would interact with.
– Loved how Goodness defied the stereotypes – which was a theme in the novel.
– Characters’ emotions were expressed well and connected to the themes and storyline.
– Grandmother’s feelings of sadness and guilt were beautifully depicted.
– Felt shocked that Annalise had been forced to do electro-shock therapy for falling in love with a black man. We the readers felt really sorry for her, as we understand that it is because of this treatment that she became who she is (her mind has been permanently and negatively affected by the “therapy”).
– Amandla’s character arc was that she changed through meeting her extended family and accepting how she came to live in Sugar Town. She expanded her relationships and friendships as well as her knowledge. She also learned that she could rely on others in her trusted support network.
– In the start of the novel she wanted the truth about her dad, but throughout the story she actually got so much more about that.
– Would really have liked the book to have been a bit longer, would have liked – – Amandla to have met her dad’s parents.
– Amandla sounded sophisticated for her age – she took care of her mum and had to grow up very quickly.

– At the start it was a fast-paced; we found out she had a grandmother in Durban quite early on.
– Would like to have seen a little more about Amandla’s everyday life before the conflict was really heightened.
– We do get to see Amandla’s life, but we have to piece it together and could have been fleshed out more.
– We do understand that Annalise is a shadow of what she used to be; we understand that she’s been through a LOT.
– Usually the parents in books are unpredictable and this book is no different; we see a teenager trying to protect their own feelings whilst also being the child of an unpredictable parent.
– Amandla didn’t need Lewis; she was independent and the story didn’t need this romantic thread.
– Disagree – the romance thread didn’t take away from her power. In fact this thread balanced out some of the other awful stuff that was happening for her; – – Lewis was a nice distraction!
– Wasn’t a massive fan of Lewis but he was fine.
– Why do we need multiple threads? Sometimes one thread can be sufficient! – – — Sometimes multiple threads are essential and sometimes they are not.
– Loved Lewis – he was so nice to Amandla after all that she was going through and that meant that she was able to open up to him.
– Did like the ending even though would love a sequel.
– Perhaps too many side characters?
– The three main girls could have had their own subplot because they are on the front cover.
– Would have liked more backstory of the three girls.
– We have a common understanding that the Bollards are very racist.
– Should have gone into a little bit more depth about the apartheid and how that has affected the current South African community.

– Themes of racism, prejudice and injustice are strong throughout.
– These themes are displayed throughout the book through Neville and Amandla’s characters. For example it is really strong that the grandfather rejects his own granddaughter for being mixed race. This is extremely sad as well!
– Also themes of family, independence and girl-power.
– Racism was a theme that we could see because of how it impacted the decisions in Amandla’s life.
– Community: Amandla has her family and her town. This is an arc in the novel as well, as her support networks further connect with her.
– A small theme in the book is the experience of being stereotyped and how belittling that can be and feel.
– Goodness’ family wants her to be more feminine – but she loves soccer. This is a source of frustration for her.

Cover Design:
– Loved the cover.
– Loved how we could use the cover to reference the characters.
– The different colours stand out.
– The cover depicts their distinct personalities and friendship.
– Colours are in stark contrast to the mood of Sugar Town, which is gloomy.

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