Published May 12th 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
MG > Contemporary
eARC for Review
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
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.
Even though this book was the complete opposite of what I thought it would be when I picked it up—I found myself completely unsurprised. I thought Apple and Rain was a YA Romance about a girl with abandonment issues, thanks to her mother. Apparently, the physical ARCs came with tissues. And tissues from the publisher can totally mean sad, broken girl with mommy issues, who meets an even sadder boy/girl with double the mommy issues, right?
The story is quite simple. Appolinia Apostopoulou (Apple), has lived for eleven years with her strict Nana, (whom I loved, by the way) who often treats her like a child, much to Apple’s chagrin. When one day, Apple’s estranged mother who had left in hopes of becoming an actress turns up, Apple, wants to move in with the flighty woman.
So when Apple, desperate for her mother’s approval actually does move in with her mother, and meets Rain, her sister, I was confused. And then I had my oh, okay moment when I realised that I wasn’t completely wrong in my initial assumption. Sad Apple does indeed meet sadder Rain with double mommy issues. I knew then that I’d found myself a MG coming-of-age read.
Now remember, that my cold chest does indeed possess a cold heart. So while I wasn’t completely unaffected by this book, I also wouldn’t say that this book wrecked me. Which, after the uproar over this book, is what I had expected. The book is written from the POV of a fourteen year old who is struggling and confused. It was simple in its writing and precisely knew what chords to strike in its reader’s heart. That’s what made the book what it was. And while I am an occasional MG reader, the more I read of the genre, the more it seems to elude me. More of a it’s not you, it’s me kind of thing, getit?
I love books entered around family and family issues. But this one, obviously, was the complete extreme. It had a flighty mother who cared about no one or nothing, two young girls who struggled to make their mother happy, and a grandmother who could do nothing but helplessly watch all the drama unfold. Name every bad thing for your fourteen/ten year old child and it’s in there—drinking, smoking, leering men, cutting school for weeks on end, even paranoia. And not to mention, Rain, who carries around her doll Jenny, thinking that she is a real baby. Like I said, this book has quite a lot of the sad. And while our world is absolutely filled with worse lives for children, I cannot say reading this book was easy. Lots of cringing and wincing and anger on my end.
The entire story is set in Britain, and I loved that aspect. We hardly ever see books that are 100% British, and that was amazing to see! Chips instead of fries, sauce instead of ketchup—delightful! Plenty of food references for the food lovers and I think, overall, the British aspect was one of my favourite parts about the book! And poetry! If there’s one thing—only one—that made me teary-eyed it was the poetry. Brilliant and just amazing <3
I think I’d recommend this book to people who have the patience and the empathy to be able to stick with a character who slowly, but surely grows and learns and comes of age. Because truly, any learning and growing that Apple did was at the very end. It’s sad, it has a few clichés (see: understanding, fun English teacher), a quirky “love interest” and it’s hopeful. But more importantly, it’s beautifully written so if nothing else appeals to you, believe me, the writing surely will.