Showing posts with label leaving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leaving. Show all posts

Friday, October 7, 2016

Recommendation: Apple and Rain - Sarah Crossan: Long-lost Siblings and Absent Moms

In APPLE AND RAIN, Apple's mother Annie comes back after 11 years out of the blue and brings a sibling with her.

What intrigued me: I loved ONE by Sarah Crossan and wanted to read more by her.

Genre-defying and Brilliantly Lucid

APPLE AND RAIN is very difficult to pinpoint. It's a little bit literary, it's a coming-of-age story, it's a drama, it's a little bit of a romance. To me it's genre-defying. You'd think it wouldn't work to mix all those things into a book, but strangely, it does. 

Crossan separates the novel into different parts which describe different aspects of Apple's coming-of-age journey. Some characters are more important in one part than the other as protagonist Apple goes through massive character development that's painstakingly obvious as she gets pushed out of her comfort zone more and more, and admirably manages to adapt. 

Apple is such a lovely character that you simply have to grow attached to. Crossan uses very simple language that feels very Middle Grade. It's filled with such brilliantly lucid thought processes and complicated ideas and concepts that it transcends the simplistic writing and yet again manages to come across as convincingly and essentially YA.

Poetry plays a huge role in Apple's life and there are little poems penned by her spread throughout the novel and intervowen with the story. You have to be a fan of poetry to enjoy those of course, but it does help that Crossan is an incredibly gifted poet, which is the most apparent in her latest novel ONE, written in verse, (glowing recommendation!) but also in APPLE AND RAIN. She tells this story with such authenticity and vulnerability that you can't help but grow attached and the poems beautifully highlight that.

Unpredictable and Addicting

Apple's mother Annie deserves an honorary mention. She's this young-at-heart rebel-turned-aspiring actress who's too cool for school and just feels like a recipe for disaster. This is a type of character that I'd love to see more often in YA, a parent who's still more child than mother/father.

Apple's and her dynamic very much feels reversed considering a classic mother/daughter relationship, which in turn makes a delightfully different read. Even neighbor Dell, who likes to wear pink and carry bags with mermaids on them; all of the characters feel like people that I haven't seen in YA before and it makes me so happy. Crossan really defies from the norm and surprises with fresh, fantastically unique characters. I loved them all dearly.

Everything about APPLE AND RAIN feels delightfully different. From the story, to the path the narration follows, to the structure - I did struggle a bit in the beginning, considering Crossan didn't build this on a classic dramatic structure you'd expect from novels in this genre. It's truly defying all narration tropes you'd expect and I love that. It's fresh, it's unpredictable, it's addicting. It's definitely something fun if you want to read a contemporary with its own spin on the genre.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

APPLE AND RAIN is so smart and poetic, while never ceasing to make me laugh. Crossan is a very gifted writer and slowly rising to become one of my all-time contemporary favorites.

Additional Info

Published: 22nd August 2016
Pages: 330
Publisher: cbt
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 978-3-570-16400-6

"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.
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read books by Sarah Crossan?

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Friday, September 2, 2016

[Review] Leave Me - Gayle Forman: Heart Attacks and Leaving Your Family

In LEAVE ME, the overworked mother of twins Maribeth decides to leave her family after she had a stress-induced heart attack.

What intrigued me: I've read other books by Gayle Forman and liked her writing style, so I was eager to try something else by her.

Devastating premise

The premise of LEAVE ME is a very devastating one, which is half of the reason why I wanted to read this. 

Having read other novels by Forman before, I'm confident in her ability to portray strong emotions. She didn't disappoint me. LEAVE ME manages to portray this horrible scenario in a very realistic, emotional way. 

Maribeth is an incredibly relatable character and I did understand her choices, however cruel they are. I'm not really a fan of the perspective, I'm positive I would have enjoyed this even more if Forman had decided to write this in first person instead of third.  This perspective makes it hard to connect to to Maribeth and to really see things the way she does, which is in my opinion crucial to enjoying and understanding LEAVE ME. Forman tried to incorporate little flashback-like scenes to establish relationships, mostly the one between her former best friend and now-boss Elizabeth and Maribeth. I'm not a fan of flashbacks generally and inserting them right into an ongoing scene just confuses me and throws me right out of the story. However, this is really minor criticism. 

The difficult thing about LEAVE ME is that it doesn't follow a straight plot line, there is no real goal that Maribeth is working towards in the story. I was expecting leave me to start with Maribeth's departure, instead we get about 70 pages of what I'd call introduction. I do like that we get an insight view of Maribeth's life and that indeed makes it more easy to understand why she would leave her family just like that. 

Very literary and definitely recommended

At the end of the day, there's no way around saying that LEAVE ME really could have used more structure. I did enjoy following Maribeth into her new life and I read the book fairly quickly, however I just personally like novels to follow a clear storyline. The reason why this novel just worked for me is undeniably because of Forman's uncanny ability to portray emotion. 

Maribeth is relatable, her experiences very real, and it just reads less like fiction, but more like something that might actually happen.

If you don't mind novels that go more into the literary direction and are a fan of Foreman, this is a must read. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

LEAVE ME is an interesting, thought-provoking novel that I enjoyed. However I can only recommend this to you if you don't mind the slow pace and the lack of action.

Additional Info

Published: September 6th 2016
Pages: 352
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Genre: Adult / Drama
ISBN: 9781616206178

"For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read books by Gayle Forman?

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