When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bittersweet. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.
A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.
I received this as a surprise ARC from Bloomsbury…with tissues.
Which is mildly concerning. Will I be reduced to a snivelling mess at the end? Will I sob my way through a packet of tissues asking why I was born to feel things and why must these books destroy my delicate emotions?
Well, I didn’t cry at all, actually. But this is by far the best ARC package I have ever received.
Don’t get me wrong: this book ignited all sorts of emotions inside me!
I am not a heartless frog, I promise. I just didn’t bawl, as I expected. Maybe I’ve been reading too many dystopians, but I was expecting a mindblowing tragedy…which wasn’t there. Thank goodness. I actually survived this book with tear ducts unwet! Ha! I win.
Despite what the title conveys this book is, unfortunately, not about wet food.
Not that I like wet food, but books about food always hit a soft spot in my soul. (Or stomach.) Although this had quite the mix of delightful British delicacies, such as “Beans on Toast”, copious references of “chips with vinegar and salt” and let’s not forget lots of roasts and ice cream and caramelised apples. Come to think of it, Apple and Rain did wonderfully with the food aspect.
Is your mouth not watering right now? Mine is…
Basically the book is about messed up families with messed up children who make messed up decisions.
Abandonment issues! They’re everywhere! What I actually struggled with, while reading, were the amount of poor decisions. I think that was the point though: if you make bad decisions, they’ll affect everyone. Obviously (the blurb says so) Apple’s mother runs out on her. Apple then lives with her grandma, who’s strict and believes Apple’s going to be kidnapped if she even walks down the street alone. Paranoia is in bloom.
I always love a book centred around family.
Although: if they’d just HUGGED already and communicated, the book might’ve been a lot shorter.
Even though Apple’s mostly 13 in the book, it didn’t feel particularly MG.
Unlike, say, Take Back the Skies, which starred a 14/15 year old character with a very immature/naive voice. Apple and Rain might have had the same character age-range, BUT, it felt so much deeper than that. It digs into issues simply. But it goes deep. I absolutely love that.
Actually, this book reminded me a lot of Looking for JJ. If you liked that one, I’m pretty sure this is for you.
Apple, our narrator, wears a mask of grumpiness.
She’s like grumpy cat, but without the fur. The more I read, the more her grumpiness faded as she sat up and paid attention to the real world, not just how she perceived it. Character development! YES. And there’s a huge emphasis on poetry (which I’m not normally fond of, but I actually appreciated it here), which helps Apple to explore her true feelings. Even if she buries the poems she writes.
But…I have to admit: it was predictable.
This is the only reason it’s not getting full-stars. (Also: it’s possible I’ve just read too much.) There was one major plot twist I didn’t see coming at all…but the rest? Impossible crushes at school, friends ditching her, mean girls, the dorky boy next door is kind of cute actually, etc. and etc. Read it a thousand times. I also predicted the ending and was right.
All in all:
A totally bittersweet read, with delicious food and grumpy characters who maybe melt in the arms of family who need them. Bad decisions. And second chances. And plenty of potatoes. Gosh, it’s England: bring me some chips.