Title: Apple and Rain
Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: YA General Fiction
Review: Orla O’ Brien (Kildare Town Library)
Synopsis: A stunning novel from Carnegie-shortlisted author Sarah Crossan; moving and beautifully crafted, it explores the bond between daughters and mothers, forgiveness and the healing power of words.
Review: The social pecking order at school can prey a lot on a teenager’s mind. With social clicks, it is easy to envy the popular kids, who effortlessly radiate coolness. Apple is on the outside looking in. Her only loyal friend dumps her immediately after being invited into the cool gang. The pang of loneliness is felt deeply by the reader.
Home for Apple is just as torturous as school. She thinks her Nana is out of the loop when it comes to understanding what it’s really like to be a teenager. She is an embarrassment, insisting on walking her to and from school, as if she were still a child. The worst part is she is set in her ways and won’t budge on her archaic rules. Apple fails to realise that these strict regimes come from a place of love. It is clear from the reader’s perspective that she wants the best for Apple and just wants to provide structure and routine. But Apple is too blind by anger and injustice to see it.
A proposal to start a new life dangles in front of Apple when her effervescent mother pops back into her life. Her mother has been gone for eleven years, but Apple instantly forgives her when she asks her to live with her. She is closer in age than her old-fashioned Nana, and most importantly fun to be with. The allure of a life without constraints seems promising.
Her mother has a habit of crushing and destroying family ties, like a hurricane that rips out solid foundations, and has little care for how the dust will settle afterwards. She soon shows her true nature. She would rather party around the clock than take proper care of her two daughters. How much more heartache must Apple endure before she realises how self-centred and narcissistic her mother is? Apple gets some clarity when things hit rock bottom.
This story is a about redemption, taking chances, acknowledging mistakes made and learning from them. Also, there is a clear message. Through failure we learn and grow into better people. This story reminds us to take off the rose-tinted glasses and see life for what it really is.