An Award-Winning Novel

​It’s Berkeley in the 1960s, and Martha Goldenthal’s home life is a cauldron of kooky ideas, impossible demands, and explosive physical violence. Her father, Jules, is an iconoclast who hates academia and can’t control his fists. Her mother, Willa, has made a career out of victimhood. Meanwhile, Jules’s classical record store, located directly across the street from the U.C. Berkeley campus, is ground zero for riots and tear gas. When family circumstances change and sixteen year-old Martha winds up in the care of the broke and directionless Jules, it’s a bumpy ride. Can she stand up to her father to do the one thing she knows she must—go to college? With its running “soundtrack” of classical recordings and rock music and its vivid scenes of Berkeley at its most turbulent, Shrug is the absorbing, harrowing, and ultimately uplifting story of one young woman’s journey toward independence.

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  • 2020 IPPY Awards Gold Winner, YA Fiction
  • 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver Winner, Fiction
  • 2019 Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner, YA Fiction, Historical
  • 2019 Best Book Award Finalist, YA Fiction
  • 2019 Sarton Women’s Book Awards Finalist, Historical Fiction
  • 2020 Goethe Awards (post-1750 historical fiction) Finalist
  • 2020 Independent Press Awards Distinguished Favorite, YA Fiction
  • 2019 Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist
  • 14th Annual NIEA Winner, Regional Fiction West

“Gripping from beginning to end, this beautifully written work is impossible to put down.”

— The BookLife Prize

“Read this book. It will knock your socks off.”

— Laurin Porter, author, The Banished Prince: Time, Memory, and Ritual in the Late Plays of Eugene O’Neill

“As persuasive as the memoirs Educated and The Glass Castle.”

— Carolyn McVickar Edwards, author of Return of the Light and The Storyteller’s Goddess

“Filled with meaning, [Shrug is] this generation’s Catcher in the Rye meets Running with Scissors.”

— Deborah Burns, author, Saturday’s Child