Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Apple and Rain ~ Sarah Crossan (earc) review [@SarahCrossan @BloomsburyKids]

Apple and Rain
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
May 12, 2015
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels almost whole again. In order to heal completely, her mother will have to answer one burning question: Why did she abandon her? But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets her younger sister, Rain-someone more lost than she is- that she begins to see things for how they really are, allowing Apple to discover something that might help her to feel truly whole again.

From the author of the acclaimed The Weight of Water comes a beautifully-crafted, moving novel about family, betrayal, and the ultimate path to healing.

I really, really loved Sarah Crossan's Apple and Rain.

Apple has spent all but the first few years of her life being raised by her Nana. Her, then teenaged, mother left, one Christmas Eve, eleven years ago and hasn't returned since. With her father living several hours away, busy with his new wife who doesn't seem to like Apple, Nana is all Apple has. (Well, Nana and their dog, Derry.)

When Apple's mother reappears, claiming to be 'back,' it seems like a dream come true. But is it?

After living so many years with her strict grandmother, feeling like she's being treated like a baby, Apple's mother seems perfect. At first . . .

The Christmas that Apple celebrates near the beginning of the book gave a great glimpse at what her life was like. She was surrounded by adults, who likely did not want the best for her but they weren't really seeing her. Or what she needed and wanted.

Apple and readers can see the tension between her mother and her Nana. It's not until later that Apple begins to question the real cause of that tension.

I love that, really, no one is perfect in Apple and Rain. It isn't that her grandmother is a saint and her mother is the big screw-up, nor is her grandmother evil and her mother her saving grace. They are very lifelike characters, real and honest with their good traits but also their flaws and imperfections.

It is all a question of Apple - and later Rain - what they really need and who can provide it. As well as what truths they will have to face in finding their answers.

The poetry that is a part of Apple and Rain does a great job enhancing the story. It not only gives readers a deeper insight into the characters, but makes you think about the story more, too. In some ways the entire book is like a prose version of a poem.  It isn't as if the whole novel is an allegory or extended metaphor, there are no bunnies standing in for Apple's grandmother. The tone, the pacing and the events have a poetic feel to them. Even if some things are included indirectly or skirted around, we feel their presence strongly.

Apple and Rain are two girls you will connect with quickly and who you'll hope for the best for. The characters are story of Apple and Rain are ones you're not likely to forget; it really is a moving, remarkable story. (I am actually a bit surprised by how much I loved this book - don't pass it up.)

digital copy received for review, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

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