Published by A&C Black on 14-08-2014
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
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.
Apple has spent the last eleven years wishing for her mother. Wandering why she left and why she never came back, all Apple wants is for her mum to come home. She loves living with her nan, but she’s also beginning to chafe at being picked up from school and generally not being let out of sight. She also wishes she had her mum to just talk to about things she couldn’t discuss with her nan, things like boys, petty arguments at school and make up. When Apple’s mum does show up out of the blue though, it isn’t exactly the seamless family reunion Apple expected, and she has to face up to the reality of a mother she’s only ever imagined until now.
I found the story a bit predictable but very enjoyable and VERY hard to put down! Between how quick the story moves, the very short chapters and the easy-to-get-lost-in voice of Apple, I told myself ‘just one more chapter’ for far too long when reading it. The fact that the story was a little predictable didn’t particularly bother me, because it’s just as much about the journey and the character development as it is about the end result. In that respect, and with Apple’s clear voice, it reminded me a little of something like Thirteen Reasons Why.
Apple tries to build a relationship with her mother as she fears her relationship with her best friend is disintegrating, she goes through so many upheavals, and then on top of all that she’s also given a new English teacher, who tries to engage the class with poetry. The poetry in Apple and Rain is used really well, and it really helps to see exactly how Apple feels – although her voice is very clear, she’s not always upfront with herself about how she feels, so the poetry gives you that little bit of insight beneath the mask.
I don’t want to say too much about the characters because learning about them was one of the highlights of the story for me and I don’t want to take that away if you haven’t read it yet! So just a few quick thoughts from me on each of them.
Apple is great – although she’s only 13 she comes across as more mature. At the start of the story Apple definitely comes across as younger and more naive – she idolises her mother, she worries about Nana making her look uncool etc but she grows brilliantly throughout the book. Sure she makes mistakes, but what
teenager human doesn’t?!
Rain and Del are both brilliant characters. I couldn’t decide on an overall favourite character but it’d definitely be one of these two!
Apple’s mother Annie is really well developed. I loved the fact that she was shown as making mistakes and having flaws without being the villain. Unfortunately for me this was overshadowed a little by Apple’s issues with her dad, who she seemed determined to see as the bad guy and which I found a little frustrating.
Apple and Rain was a quick, cute, enjoyable read, but it wasn’t the emotional rollercoaster I was expecting. It can be a little bleak at times, but it’s fundamentally a heart-warming story about families, relationships, and growing up. I’ve seen so many great reviews for Apple and Rain, and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as deeply emotional as I was expecting, so I liked it but wasn’t overwhelmed unfortunately.
Buy it? This is one I’d borrow or pick up on a deal.
In a nutshell: All in all a good read, but didn’t have the impact I was expecting.