Apple and rain by Sarah Crossan

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408857717.
Recommended for readers 12+. Much was expected from this fresh and innovative novel. I felt a strong sense of enthusiasm to read this book and to be introduced to Crossan's writing whom I wasn't familiar with. When I came to the end of the story, my initial reaction was a feeling of relief as I had quickly grown tired of the storyline. Although once I thought more about the story, I realised that I expected too much from the young year eight old girl. Apple and rain does have the potential to grow into a well-liked coming of age story that could sit upon every thirteen year old's bookshelf.
The story is narrated by almost-teen Apple, whose first name is too hard to pronounce, and is unabashedly naive. Her tale begins when she recounts a night like no other on Christmas Eve when her mother leaves her safe haven and never returns. Despite the fact she absolutely hates the season, Apple foolishly hopes that her mother will one day return. Of course, it never happens so Apple is left celebrating the season with her Nana, father and her much hated stepmother.
Under the molly coddling and tough love of her Nana, Apple leads a sheltered life. So when she finally meets her mother after eleven years, she can't believe her luck. Despite her Nana's scepticism about her mum, Apple wants to spend as much time with her as possible and soon grows accustomed to her mother's wild lifestyle. When life at home with her Nana begins to fall apart, Apple decides to live with her mum and her not so perfect home. But when Apple finally recognises that her life isn't all that it seems to be and is slowly dwindling, it is only Apple's choice if she wants to fix it or not.
This sad yet hopeful story is one for the ages and is truly inspiring for young pre-teens who may be stuck in life. Apple is a young girl whom girls her age can relate to as she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her mother happy. Apple goes from a life of being closely monitored by her grandmother to becoming an adult of the house and all the responsibilities it embraces. This is a tale that I would most definitely recommend to readers aged 12+ as it embraces unconditional love and the strength of a young girl willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family happy. A book similar to this is The first third by Will Kostakis and I recommend this book to any avid reader who wants more from this style of books.
Samantha May (Student)