Review: Apple & Rain by Sarah Crossan

Book Title: Apple & Rain
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Bloomsbury Children’s USA in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
When I first saw the synopsis for Apple & Rain, I was excited and hopeful. Sister stories are some of my favorite things, and I was hoping I’d love the book as much as I loved the cover. Unfortunately I spent the majority of the book metaphorically banging my head against a wall. These characters all frustrated me in varying degrees.

Apple wanted her mom to come back. She held her mom up on this pedestal. Even when she did come back and make some extremely questionable decisions, it took a long time for Apple to even realize that just because her mom was back didn’t mean everything was perfect. Apple was a very frustrating character, but she was also the one who had the best character arc. By the time the book ends, she realizes that her mom isn’t perfect and that her grandmother was more of a mom to her than her own mom.

I felt terrible for Rain. Clearly she had a lot of problems and I hated how her mom handled them. Yeah she carried around a baby doll, who she swore was a real baby. Most moms would have been extremely concerned about that and would have done anything to get her the help she needed. Yet, Rain and Apple’s mom didn’t give a crap. All she cared about was her career and the parties she would have (which involved plying her oldest underage daughter with alcohol)

Apple and Rain’s mom, Annie, was incredibly selfish. She didn’t give a crap about how Apple felt about anything. She would randomly pull Apple out of school for the hell of it, or even to babysit Rain while she went on auditions. So instead of being selfless and focusing on what her daughters needed, Annie focused on herself. Her career seemed to be all that mattered to her. It was utterly infuriating.

As for Nan, Egan and Del and the other secondary characters, they were woefully underdeveloped, which bummed me out. I wanted to know more about them, particularly Del. I thought there was a lot more to him than met the eye.

The book definitely improved by the ending, and in fact I was able to bump it up one full star. I was excited about that because I had felt so frustrated by the book so far. I am definitely bummed that this wasn’t an emotional read like I was expecting. I didn’t laugh or cry at all and I think that was simply because I didn’t connect with the characters. I’ll be giving this book 3 stars.

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