Apple & Rain by Sarah Crossan

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Apple lives with her caring Nana and their dog Derry. 13 year old Appolonius (Apple for short) dreams of a time when her mother will return. She left when Apple was a toddler to pursue her acting ambitions.
When her mother turns up out of the blue one day, Apple wants nothing more than to spend time with and get to know her mother, but it seems her mother is still not quite ready to be her mother.
Apple and Rain is a well-written account of one girls’ transition from child to adolescent, even if this transition is forced upon her by a need to mature rapidly in the face of her mother’s inadequate (and that’s being generous) maternal skills.
There are lots of interesting characters, such as Mr Gaydon, a teacher who spots Apple’s talent for free verse, and Del, an unusual new kid next door. They help Apple to find a passion she never knew she had and help her to become more confident in her own skin.
You can’t help but feel sorry for Apple as her situation worsens throughout the story, her mother’s reckless actions leading to more and more trouble. Apple’s resilience is telling and indicative of many young people, however.

The most poignant and true-to-life aspect of the story is how Apple’s mother acts, and it holds up a stark mirror to parents and guardians everywhere, highlighting the impact that good and not-so-good parenting can have.
A hard read at times, but very well-written in its deceptive simplicity. Sarah Crossan also uses her poetic talents to great effect and it’s little wonder that she has broken out in the interim with her novels in free verse, One and The Weight of Water.

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