Apple and Rain

by Sarah Crossan

After walking out of her life years before, Apple’s mom is back and seems to... read more

After walking out of her life years before, Apple’s mom is back and seems to understand 14-year-old Apple’s desire for independence far better than strict and loving Nana. So Apple says yes to living with her mother. It’s only after she arrives at her mom’s apartment that Apple learns she has a half-sister, 10-year-old Rain. Rain, who has emotional issues, refuses to go to school. Their mom’s partying (in which she includes Apple) and financial situation both get worse, and more and more Apple is responsible for her sister. While parts of this novel are predictable—Apple’s initial resentment of Rain turns to love; Apple’s new friend Del becomes the steadfast person she relies on; things with her unreliable mom get steadily worse before Apple can bring herself to tell Nana the truth—the emotion across the story arc is richly and honestly portrayed. The book is divided into sections (Solitude, Fear, War, Love, Disappointment, Poetry), each one aligned to the theme of one of the poems Apple’s English class is studying with their marvelous teacher. The poems Apple writes for her assignments, also aligned to the themes, become honest expressions of the ways things are spiraling out of control. By novel’s end, Apple’s emerging voice as a young poet is something to celebrate along with relief at a safer future for the sisters back with Nana. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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