Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: MG contemporary
Length: 330 pages
Published by: Bloomsbury
Source: received for review (thanks, Bloomsbury!)
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bittersweet. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.
A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special
This is how I received a copy of Apple and Rain:
If you can’t read that label it says WARNING: may result in tears of sadness and joy.
I don’t cry in books. Except for…a few books. Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fault in Our Stars and Harry Potter. So I didn’t cry at this. And also, my sister finagled the tissues because she had run out, apparently. But it was sad. And it was also lovely.
Awesome things about this book include:
1) The characters.
We have Apple, our main character, short for Apollinia Apostopoulou (say it out loud, you won’t regret it). She’s awesome. She’s flawed. She often does the wrong thing. But she’s such a REAL character.
Also, she writes poetry. It made me sad that she wrote two different sets of poetry for her homework: the first was honest, and beautiful, but she deleted it because she thought people would make fun of her, and wrote a boring one instead. I was like noooo, Apple, keep the beautiful poetry!! And seriously, her best friend was so awful. Poor Apple. She reminded me of Bea from Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan, actually.
Then we have Rain, her sister, who thinks her doll is real, and that was something I was not expecting. I loved seeing her relationship with Apple developing.
We also have Nana, who Apple lives with before her mother turns up. She was strict but she really, really loved Apple, and Rain eventually as well.
The Mum, though. Goodness she made me angry. She’s an “actress,” or trying to be one, but she puts this above the wellbeing of both her children. She doesn’t come back when she says she’s going to be, and she leaves Apple in charge of Rain.
EVEN SO THAT APPLE MISSES SCHOOL.
She feels sorry for herself and you get the feeling that the Mum wishes she had never had children.
Yeah, Mum, I think Fantine has got waaaay more to complain about than you.
2) It doesn’t shy away from the sad/messy/complicated parts of life.
There is a lot in this book that DOES suck. But it’s also a really hopeful story, and it shows the power of forgiveness, and how people can change. I loved that – just because it’s MG, doesn’t mean the situations have to be all rainbows and butterflies. Because the fact is, kids do go through stuff like this – it would be amazing if they didn’t, but they do, and I think it’s a good thing that MG reflects that.
I’ve mentioned this a little bit, but I really did love the poetry in this book, and how Apple was a writer. It almost made me cry when Mr Gayden told Apple she was a good writer, because of how much it meant to Apple – she’d never had someone say that to her. It reminded me of when someone first told ME I was a good writer, and how stunned and proud I was.
The relationship between Apple and Rain develops throughout the book and it was one of my favourite parts. I love love loved it.
5) THERE WERE ALSO FUNNY PARTS.
Namely where Del was concerned. Del is the next-door neighbour and he is HILARIOUS. He’s also really caring, too. But parts with him made me actually laugh out loud.
So that’s five reasons to read Apple and Rain. What are you waiting for?
It’s one of the most complex, beautiful middle grade books I’ve read. I think fans of Bird by Crystal Chan will enjoy it. Fans of Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan will also enjoy it, because the protagonists in both are awesome female leads who learn to stand up for themselves.
Rating: 4.5/5 Wonderkitties