Apple (who’s nearly 14) lives with her rather strict grandmother, because Apple’s mother disappeared for Hollywood 11 year ago, and Apple’s dad has re-married and his new wife is currently expecting a baby. Apple isn’t particularly happy; she feels her grandmother treats her like a baby, and she desperately wishes for her mother to return.
Then, out of the blue, her mother comes back for good. Apple is on cloud nine and immediately moves in with her mother, leaving back a devastated gran. She doesn’t know, however, what she is letting herself in for. Mum wants to become an actress, she likes partying, she’s definitely not a responsible parent. And to top things off she has brought along her younger daughter Rain, who is slightly disturbed and is separable from a doll that she treats like a real child, which makes everyday life rather complicated.
Apple is trying really hard to be part of her mother’s world, but things don’t work out as she hopes they would. Her only solace is writing poetry under the encouragement of her new English teacher, and to some extent Del, the slightly weird but fun boy next door. Things quickly get complicated and soon everybody realizes that they can only solve their problems by working together.
Crossan’s book is a eulogy on family, friendship and love, even though the family is not your cosily traditional one. Part of the appeal of the book, however, is Apple’s character, because she simply is good-hearted and kind. But also Del and Rain are well-drawn and add a lot to the story. In addition, the message that you can’t run away from your problems is obviously appreciated, too. After all, the novel is on the Carnegie Shortlist for 2015.