Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Published by Bloomsbury in 2015
My copy: Library
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.
Our narrator Apple is thirteen and lives with her loving but over-protective nan after her mum left her when she was just a toddler. Her narrative style is funny and straightforward, but we see how she is naive in many ways – but we can also understand her frustration with her nan, who rarely lets her out on own.
And then her estranged mother reappears, and Apple is star-struck. This is when the book really gets interesting, as the reader is very likely to have a different view of the situation to Apple. And when half-sister Rain enters the scene, the novel becomes tender and sad.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable Young Adult novel. You are immediately drawn into the story and find yourself rooting for poor Apple, who often doesn’t know the right thing to do, and is blinded by love for her flawed mother. I also really liked Del, the quirky neighbour who becomes a really important person in Apple’s life.
I felt that the book’s main strength was how well the main characters were portrayed, and although the story is fairly simple, it does suck you in and makes you want to keep reading. The poetry that litters the book is also an interesting touch and sets this apart slightly from other YA novels.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this – it is a sweet, touching story with lovely, sometimes complex characters. Great for young readers aged around 11-13.
My rating: 9 out of 10