Just Juice is a novel written by Karen Hesse. It is about a child named Justus Faulstich, an illiterate child who prefers to be called Juice. She lives in the country with her poor family, composed of her Pa, Ma, and four sisters, Markey, Charleen, Lulu, and Turtle. The family has to deal with many problems, which include Ma¡¦s expecting a baby, Juice¡¦s truancies, and Pa¡¦s financial and job troubles. One day, Pa receives a letter saying that their house has been sold to pay off the owed expenses, especially taxes. Since Ma is expecting a baby, Pa decides hide the truth from her and see what he can do to make the money needed to get the house back. Soon, the family receives another letter saying that Juice has missed so many days of school that they will be fined one thousand dollars. This is when the tax secret is revealed, and Ma helps to solve the problem.
This book is beautifully written from the first to the last word. The author makes such ordinary and simple events very absorbing by giving Juice a voice. The dialect that she uses when narrating the story enables readers to hear her talking about events that happen and how she feels about them. In addition, this story is unique because instead of one large victory at the ending, there are many small triumphs throughout the book. Unlike most books, which have a single peak (i.e., climax) in the story, this book has several smaller ¡§hills¡¨ instead. For example, when Juice auditions for the best role in a class play, she is unsure of how she will do. It turns out that she gets the part. This book is worth reading because it is unique compared to others.
I feel that this is an excellent book overall. My favorite part, though, is when Ma is having another baby. During this part, Juice checks Ma¡¦s sugar level in her blood. At first, she thinks that the monitor reads 300. Then Juice checks it again, and it says 030. I like this part because it is the first time Juice is able to read. This is very significant because it shows that even though letters and numbers seem to bewilder her, she is capable of learning to read.