Apple and Rain

Right.  I have written three introductions to this review, trying to be all fancy-pants and eloquent and literary and so forth, but here's the bottom line: this disappointed me.

I've not read any of Sarah Crossan's other books, but I had the general impression that she was a well-reviewed, well-respected author.  So I did not hesitate to request Apple and Rain as an ARC.  She's a Carnegie-shortlisted author, so I figured this would be lovely and literary.

Well ... it was fine.  I didn't love it.  I'm not even sure if I liked it.  Apple and Rain often made me stop and go, "Huh?"

Apollonia, or Apple, as she prefers to be called, lives with her Nana.  Apple's mum left when she was quite small, but Apple was old enough to remember the incident.  Life is generally pretty good.  But then: CRISIS.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to articulate this properly, but using a series of bad events (or even unfortunate ones) to kickstart a story feels antiquated, somehow.  A bit charming, I suppose, but also unrealistic.  Sometimes, life changes because of a big disaster.  Most of the time, it's a series of little disasters.  And the whole lost-parent-returns conceit is a bit overdone.

Once she moves in with her mother, Apple discovers another secret: a half-sister named Rain.  Now can you guess why mum came back to fetch her older daughter?

Actually, I don't remember the plot of this very well, and I just finished it!  It's basically that Apple wants her mum to be the World's Greatest Mum (just like Michael Scott is the #1 Boss) and she's in complete denial that her mother is, in fact, spacey at best.  The rest is just straight-up neglect and narcissism.  But does mommie dearest get in trouble?  Heavens, no!  We must allow free spirits to just roam free, man!  Even when they abandon their kids, man!

And all this time, Apple is moping about like an entitled brat (well, she pretty much is one, so, points for accuracy) and Rain continues to fixate on her doll that she treats like a human and all of these people are insufferable.  Toss in Apple's middle-school romance with the homeschooled boy-next-door wunderkind and it's irritating twee city.  Oh, and I have to point out that Crossan twice refers to the boy next door as wearing "warpaint" as he crawls around his backyard.

I do not care if you are from another country.  This is not acceptable language.  I would have hoped that at least an editor would have caught it, but no.  I physically cringed when I read the "warpaint" lines.

This is an additional read at best, but there are loads of other amazing books out there about fractured family relationships.  Try Cuckoo Song, We Were Liars, or Half A King, among others.

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley.


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