Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

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Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Gorgeous story about a girl reuniting with her mother after 11 years. Things don't go as she'd hoped. It's beautifully written and heartwrenching in all the right ways. Fabulous stuff.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 140885306X

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Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal

Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award 2016: Books for Older Readers

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

This is the blurb on the back jacket of Apple and Rain and it sums up the book just perfectly.

Apple lives with her Nana since her mother ran away to America eleven years before. Nana is lovely but strict. And it doesn't help to have a strict Nana when your best friend is being courted by the class bitch, as Apple's is. So, when Mum returns, Apple is overjoyed. At last she's wanted. At last someone understands what it's like to be a teenager. Apple can hardly wait to leave Nana behind.

But things don't work out as Apple expected. Mum doesn't want to look after Apple: she wants to be looked after. And there's someone even more lonely and lost than Apple herself. As Apple picks her way through all the upheavals, we follow her through the work on poetry set by her new and unsual English teacher...

Oh. Oh, oh, oh, ohhhh. I thought this was a truly lovely story. It's about unconditional love, really. Imagine how it must be to have been abandoned by your mother when you were just tiny. You think that you would be resentful and bitter, don't you? You think that you'd resent the parent that did this to you. But Apple doesn't feel that way. At all. Mostly, this is because she is a lovely girl with a huge heart. But there are other reasons, too.

Apple's father has also done his share of rejecting. He's left his daughter to live with her grandmother, found a new wife and is having a new baby. Apple isn't central in his life either. And Nana is doing her best but her strict, old-fashioned ways bring her into conflict with a young girl heading into adolescence. Apple's mother returns - offering a new, exciting, liberal alternative - just at the point that her relationship with her grandmother is getting problematic. And every child longs to be loved by its parents.

So Apple is ripe for the plucking, if you'll forgive the obvious imagery. She'll do anything to be with her mother and this includes turning her back on Nana. It includes telling lies at school. It includes doing all kinds of things that she knows in her heart are wrong. You feel so sorry for her as the reunion starts to disintegrate. It's hard because you know it's going to happen and you know that Apple also knows it's going to happen no matter how much she tries to avoid it and deny it.

But this isn't a sad story. It's heartwrenching, yes, but in all the right ways. I won't give too much away but I will say that this is a story of the redeeming power of love, of mending fences that were believed broken forever, and of new beginnings. It's beautifully written and it made me cry but it also made me laugh. And a love of poetry suffuses the entire book. Honestly: what more could you want?

Highly, highly recommended. Particularly for middle grade readers who are fans of writers like Jacqueline Wilson, Annabel Pitcher and Cathy Cassidy.

If Apple and Rain appeals, I think you'd also like The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson or Flightsend by Linda Newbery.

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Buy Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan at Booklists.jpg Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan is in the Top Ten Teen Books of 2014.


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