Han, Jenny 1981-

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Han, Jenny 1981-


Born in 1981, Richmond, VA. Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduate; New School University, M.F.A. (writing for children). Hobbies and other interests: Watching leaves fall, baking cupcakes, ballroom dancing, staying in fancy hotels, Scrabble, hip-hop music.


Home—Brooklyn, NY. E-mail—jenny@jennyhanwrites. com.


Writer. Worked as a nanny and independent bookseller.


Shug, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.


Korean-American author Jenny Han gained critical recognition as a young-adult writer with her first novel, Shug. Han has been recognized for her ability to create a sensory-rich atmosphere for her readers; as Booklist reviewer Debbie Carton noted, it is Han's "skill in evoking colors, tastes, scents, and touch" that makes her stand out among other first-time novelists.

Shug focuses on twelve-year-old Annemarie "Shug" Wilcox, a sensitive and perceptive tween who is having difficulty transitioning into her first year of middle school. Han writes of Shug's crush on school chum Mark, as well as her changing relationship with bestfriend Elaine, both of which intertwine with other problems at home. While noting that the themes found in Shug are commonplace, a Publishers Weekly reviewer added that Han "refrains from offering a conventional, sugar-coated ending that ties up all loose ends." Similarly, Kliatt reviewer Myrna Marler declared the novel to be "more charming … than many others of the same type." Miriam Lang Budin commented in School Library Journal that in Shug the emotional growth of the novel's young heroine is depicted by Han with "a delicacy and nuance that sets this first novel above the rest of the pack of similar books."

In an online interview with Young Adult Books Central, Han commented on her writing process and noted that she often writes in longhand, piecing together her plot through fragments. "I'll write a little scene, or a vignette, and I'll figure out where it goes later," she admitted. In the same interview Han also encouraged aspiring writers: "Believe in your writing, believe that you can do anything if you try try try. … All things are possible."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, February 15, 2006, Debbie Carton, review of Shug, p. 98.

Kliatt, May, 2006, Myrna Marler, review of Shug, p. 10.

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2006, review of Shug, p. 188.

School Library Journal, May, 2006, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Shug, p. 125.


Cynsations Web site,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (November 30, 2006), Cynthia Leitich Smith, review of Shug.

Jenny Han Home Page,http://www.jennyhanwrites.com (November 30, 2006).

KoreAm Journal Online,http://www.koreamjournal.com/ (November 30, 2006), Ann Tornkvist, "All Grown Up: First-time Author Jenny Han Deals with the Sometimes Painful, Often Confusing Journey from Childhood to Adulthood."

Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (November 30, 2006), "Jenny Han."

Young Adult Books Central Web site,http://www.yabookscentral.com/ (November 30, 2006), interview with Han.