Book Review: Apple and Rain

Apple and Rain, by Sarah Crossan, is a book of honesty. A story that explores the idea of placing faith in someone who might not deserve it, and loving them anyway, with romance and drama that makes a contemporary and beautiful read.

As far as Apple knows, she’s an only child whose mother disappeared to pursue a dream of stage acting, leaving Apple to be raised by her Nana. When her mother returns, Apple leaves behind the life she’s used to and falls into living with her new family, including her odd younger sister, Rain. But Apple’s memories of her mother don’t really match up to the person who returns at all.

Apple, as a character, is easy to like – desperate to keep her innermost feelings secret, she plays down her intelligence and her creativity, leaving her love and skill for poetry at her door when she goes to school. Her feelings of frustration are understandable and relatable; what kid hasn’t wished they had a longer leash? It’s not hard to understand her hate for her Nana’s style of helicopter parenting, and her struggle in finding someone she trusts enough to talk to.

The story shows the beauty of unconditional love and strength of will, Apple is a central character who will do anything to keep her family together while trying to stop her own identity from crumbling. Not knowing who you love until you’ve lost them is a theme that runs through the story, from Nana to Rain, with bullying and the difficulties that come with standing out also featuring in the novel.

Apple’s poems add a creative touch to the novel that makes it all the more heart-breaking – seeing her feelings expressed in poetry just makes them all the more real. Her up-and-down relationship with Rain mirrors that of most siblings, and her friendship with Pilar reveals the strain adolescence can put on friendship.

Egan Winters and Apple’s relationship highlights fake feelings of love. The writing of her slow decline from loving him shows how her ‘feelings’ clouded her judgement, and puts emphasis on the difference between real love and the people we love because they’re far away.

The description of Apple and Del’s friendship, starting with the hole in the fence, is a great example of ignoring what’s close to us – Apple’s pining after Egan always stopped her from realizing who she truly loved, and their relationship showed that love isn’t always words.

Finally, Apple’s strained relationship with her mother is a story of unconditional love, and the belief that things always get better. Believing in people beyond the point of argument can be both a good and a bad thing, and Apple’s experience shows both sides as equally important.

The creativity of the story, the loveable characters and the heart-wrenching truth behind everything from the chapter headings to the teacher descriptions all make this a book you can read and read over again.

 

By Kirsty W (A student at Thorp Academy, Gateshead)