Shrug is a coming-of-age story set in the Bay Area in the 1960's. This is a story built on hope and strong characters. While no major climax of events happens in the story, Martha's growth and gradual change of mindset take center stage. Anyone who has lived through any kind of domestic strife or abuse could easily relate to Martha's situation. The writing deftly conveyed the amount of anxiety and complex emotions that Martha dealt with within herself and her family. I knew exactly what Martha was going through as her family life was falling apart but she still knew she had to do well on all of her homework or try to console her mother even though her mother did not care about her comfort. I also understood her tick and how and why it manifested as well as the impact it had on her life. I loved the inclusion of the music of the era and the impact that it had on Martha. The classical music in the beginning and the change to pop music reflected the turbulence of the time period along with her home life but the calming undercurrent of classical stayed throughout. While the ending of the book might not have seen everything solved for Martha or her family, it gave a distinct impression of hope and a brighter future which is exactly what anyone in Martha's situation is looking for.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.