Apple and Rain
Sarah Crossan

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question - why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager - unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.

"This poignant, realistic tale is about learning to love and taking responsibility, and how poems can tell the truth." Sunday Times, Pick of the Week

"A story of the redeeming power of love. It's beautifully written and it made me cry but it also made me laugh." The Bookbag
Aine, from St James Catholic High School

This book is fantastic, I really enjoyed it and that is very unusual for me as I don’t like reading and I had to be persuaded to finish reading it and am so glad I did.

This book is about a young girl, Apple, whose mother abandons her as a baby so that she can follow her dream of becoming a Broadway Star and the young girl’s grandmother brings her up without any help.

To sum up I think this book is phenomenal; it is faultless, quite sad but utterly heart warming

I think this book is set to win a major literary prize.  If you enjoy this genre make sure you read it, it is just amazing.

Amelia, from Wren Academy Barnet

A thoughtful, engaging novel that walks through the life of the characters at a steady pace. Full of relational challenges and the effects of our behaviour on others. 

Apple’s mum left her when she was small. And ever since, Apple has been living under the frustration caused by her over protective grandmother. One by one Apple’s friends starts to leave her and stops inviting her on outings because they know she will not be allowed to come. However, when Apple’s Mum comes back, she starts to learn that the opposite to overprotectiveness is not freedom but maybe neglect. Despite the excitement of now living with her mum, she finds out that maybe her grandmother could have been the safer choice after all. The only person Apple feels she can turn to is the eccentric boy who just moved in next door. Apple tries to convince herself that her Mum is only trying to help her, but then why did she never tell her that she had another daughter, Rain. When her Mum actually leaves Apple and Rain for two weeks to fend for themselves in the hope of getting a possible place in a new film, Apple finds herself in “way over her head”. Who can she ask for help? Who would want to help a girl whose world is collapsing about her ears?

However, even through some of its happier moments, a feeling of hopeless, loneliness prevails through most of the book, only to be broken in some of the final chapters. Apple and Rain deals with some very realistic circumstances and can, at times, be a real tear jerker. The emotion of the characters is obvious and you can often feel yourself connecting and empathising with many of them. I especially found a real sense of relief in the moments when Apple finally finds the courage to tell someone what was happening and to get help. I also found some of the characters very interesting. Particular that of Apple’s English teacher, who helps her through these tough times by encouraging her in her gift in poetry. This moving and thought-provoking novel will go straight to the heart of every reader. 

Amira, from Wren Academy Barnet

Apple and Rain revolves around a 13-year-old girl named Apollinia Apostolopoulou (Apple for short) and the decisions she faces when her mum comes back into her life after running away to America eleven years previously. The book is split into six sections, and is a story of friendship, love, and family. Like the authors previous novel, The Weight of Water, poetry is featured heavily in Apple and Rain. The characters were realistic and easy to relate to and the author’s writing style conveyed the emotions of the main character very well. Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read, and would recommend it to people between the ages of 10 and 14.  

Andrea, from Wren Academy Barnet

What is important to you in life? is it your phone? Maybe your X-box? Possibly your watch?  This book is about a girl (Apple) who wants a normal family, a normal mom and good friends. yet she is limited by her strict grandmother (Nana). Her mom who, who disappeared when she was born, just comes back and asks Apple to live with her. She does. She then finds out that she has a sister called Rain who she doesn't get along with. Later on her friends all move on from her, and her only friend left is Del Holloway: the new boy. She soon discovers that she has a hidden talent in poetry and explains all her problems through poems. How does she solve all her problems and begins to love her whole family and get along?

This book I found stunning for any age, any gender, any person. It is filled with fun, tension, doubt and potential; overall a good read and 100% worth it. Furthermore it has an amazing ending. Read this book and be transformed!!! 4/5 stars

Aran, from Jewish Community Secondary School

In this book by Sarah Crossan, you follow the home and school life of Apple, a 13-year-old girl. She was abandoned by her mother when she was a baby and has been living with her grandmother for 11 years until one day, her mum unexpectedly returns. Meanwhile, school carries on and Apple has more problems to deal with. How will she make it through all this?

This book is quite an easy read, as the vocabulary isn’t very challenging and the storyline is likewise. However, what I was surprised about is how Sarah Crossan managed to make this book relatable. The plot isn’t something I hear about often, nor something I think about, but because the book was written in the first person and there were many feelings involved, the reader (me) could really empathise with Apple, and so a connection was built. The author includes well-written poems by Apple throughout this book, which makes it stand out from other books and gives it a unique touch, a feature of this book that I really liked.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young teen books, but anyone can read it as it is an easy read which will be finished before you know it. Personally, I wasn’t so sure about this book until I opened the first few pages… and the next… and the next... until, before I knew it, the book was finished!

Ariela, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain is an enchanting novel written by an 11-year-old girl called Apple. Eleven years ago on Christmas Eve her mother left her and her Nana to pursue her acting career in America. Ever since then, Apple has dreamed of her mother coming back and making her life whole again. Now, her mother has come back out of the blue to try to redeem her daughter’s trust but her mother has not only brought back herself but some unwanted secrets have travelled in her suitcase with her.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. Even though the plot of the story is not completely relatable, Apple (the main character in the book) is experiencing very relatable things to the reader. Apple and Rain doesn’t drag on and in every chapter something new happens. You empathise with Apple and Rain and you feel like you are part of their world. I highly recommend this book to all readers above the age of nine and I guarantee you will get your head stuck in!

I rate this book a 5/5 stars! You’ll be missing out if you don’t read this book!

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

Apple and Rain is a small but powerful title from an author I adore. One of my favourite books ever is Crossan's The Weight of Water so naturally I was eager to read her next title, and this book left me anything but disappointed.

The protagonist, Apple, has lived in a bubble of overprotectiveness under her grandmother since her mother abandoned her in favour of her own interests eleven years ago. She resents this in her grandmother and in her mother for leaving her. But when her mother returns, Apple realises her previous life may not have been as hideous as she thought. Would you prefer a grandmother who protects you or a mother who doesn't care? Apple along with her new sister, Rain, is thrown in head first and must learn to fend for themselves when their mother, true to character, abandons the girls for America once again. 

My favourite aspect of Apple and Rain is its diversion from the typical YA book. Though there is a little romance, it is free from the overwhelming romantic or violent themes of almost all, formulaic YA books today. It's true to itself and its characters, and that's undeniably brilliant.

Binu, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

”A poignant, realistic tale about learning to love” is what The Sunday Times had to say about Apple and Rain. Now, I’m not one who normally agrees with what other people have to say about a book, but the Sunday Times couldn't have been more correct about this one. Sarah Crossan’s novel is captivating and emotionally charged, and is also one that members from all generations can relate to entirely. 

Eleven years ago, Apple’s mum left the house. Eleven years later, thirteen-year-old Appolina Apostolopoulou lives with her ‘Nana’ and is waiting for the day that her mum finally returns. Apple’s Nana does everything that she can to protect her, even walking her home after school. And then everything happens all at once.  Apple’s friend, Pilar, begins to drift away as her taste in friendships begins to change, Apple’s dad and his fiancee discover that they are going to have a baby, and, perhaps most importantly, her mum returns. For the first few days, Apple’s mum is everything that she could have wished for, but when Apple leaves her Nana to go and stay with her mum, she is exposed to the heartbreaking reality, that her mum isn't everything she her wanted to be...

Despite the fact that I am a teenage boy, Apple was a very accessible character who I was easily able to build a friendship with. The common theme of adolescence and the changes that this age brings made for a very personal and intimate relationship. In her most lonely moments, it was difficult to resist the temptation of wanting to comfort her. Apple is trying her best to fit in and gets frustrated when she isn't able to, and this affects every other aspect of her school life. Apple’s bravery, perseverance and overall uniqueness make her an unforgettable character. 

Apple and Rain is a book that takes you on a journey. The journey has its low points but also has its highs, and teaches us that loving someone is so much more than it seems, that things aren't what you think they are (however much you try to make yourself believe that they are), and also helps us subconsciously realise that those who really love you, only do what they do to help and protect you.

I strongly feel that many people will be able to relate to this book. Personally, the book made me realise that, however annoying your family/relatives may be, they are always looking out for you, and that they are the only people you have to console you when things get tough. 

The book is great for boys and girls alike and I'm sure that everyone will finish the adventure feeling that the book has changed them. The only criticism I would have about the book is that I feel that there are a few loose ends, we never find out what happens to Apple’s sixth form crush, nor do we know what happens to her ex-best friend, Pilar. 

The book made me laugh, and sometimes had me close to tears. The chapters are short and fast-paced, replicating the quick and unpredictable changes of adolescence, and made this book a great read. Even putting down the book was a struggle at times, and for that, I give Apple and Rain an UNPUTDOWNABILITY rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Catarina, from St James Catholic High School

This book was very sweet and interesting to read. All about family relationships, the story focusses on Apple, a young girl who lives with her grandma. She lives a normal life at first, making friends, going to school, even having a secret crush on a boy in her school. But when an unexpected visitor drops in out of the blue, her life changes forever.

I really liked the use of poetry throughout the book, especially with the poem “Jabberwocky”, which I have previously read and learned for a competition. The use of poems really took the story forward and was a great touch. If I had one criticism with Apple and Rain, it’s that at points it felt a bit like a TV drama, but despite this, still a very good read.

Charlotte, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I read this gripping novel in about a week and loved every word. This story held me captive from page one to page three hundred and thirty three. 

Apple and Rain is a moving story about a lonely girl nicknamed Apple, whose mother left when she was just a toddler, and her journey to find out what love really means.  

I rate this book a hearty five stars and recommend it to everyone. If you like Jacqueline Wilson books then, in my opinion, you will love this book.

Charlotte, from Wren Academy Barnet

When I opened this book and was introduced to a girl called Apple who was about my own age, I knew immediately that this would be a book that I could really get my teeth into. This amazing story of finding and losing family made me treasure my own family deeply. I think that it taught a very important lesson that first impressions, like Apple’s of Rain, are very often completely wrong.

Cidney, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain was a book with many twists and turns to the storyline. Sarah Crossan connected with the readers by creating amazing characters in the novel and overall made this book such a thrill to read. 

Crossan wrote a novel about many underlying issues. Apple had a very hard time at school and became a very rebellious pupil. I feel if you connect with the character of Apple you will realise she is rebellious because of the trauma and problems she has in her home environment. For example she had an immense argument with her Nan and as a result made her feel unloved and not wanted. This turned Apple into the school bully.  

In my opinion I felt that I could really put myself in Apple’s shoes and imagine what must have been going on inside her brain. With her mother leaving when she was young Apple must have felt heartbroken. The young girl never really understood why her mother left on Christmas Eve and so never did she like Christmas again. Evidence of this is clear in the quote, “But I didn’t care about Santa’s presents. All I could think about was what had been taken away.”

I can relate to Apple’s feelings because I am very close with my family and if one of them left I think my heart would be shattered. 

Apple and Rain is a remarkable, heart-warming book with an extraordinary plot. I can guarantee you will never want to put this book away.  

Dana, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain is an emotional novel about a girl called Apple who lived a normal, ordinary life with her Nana after her mum walked out when she was younger. This young, innocent girl had high hopes of her mum returning, but after a long time, Apple doubted this would ever actually happen. But, things got unreal for Apple when her mum pretended to be her taxi driver without Apple realizing! Things took a turn from there, and Apple had to face one of the biggest decisions of her life. After just having adapted to this, another enormous change occurred, meaning Apple's life was turned upside down, sometimes in a good way, but sometimes in an awful way... Will Apple get through it? All the answers are in this incredible book. 

I liked this heart-breaking book because it was a story you can really relate to, as it is reality themed. I could put myself in different character's shoes, and feel their emotions whilst devouring this novel. When reading, I felt like I was on a journey with the characters, and that was the author's intent. I think this book would be suitable for people of both genders over the age of nine. I would rate this book four out of five stars.

Daniel, from University College School London

Apple and Rain is a very compelling book about a 13-year-old girl called Apple. She lives with her grandmother ‘Nana’ who has taken care of her for most of her life, after Apple’s mom left her at a young age. Nana has brought her up well, but she is getting angry and annoyed as she had a chance to hang out with the popular girls but “Nana won’t let her grow up”. So Apple’s best and only friend Pilar goes with Donna (the popular girl). Gradually over time Pilar starts spending more time with Donna then Apple, which leaves Apple with no friends. She blames Nana since, if she had just let her be grown up for once, she wouldn’t be friendless. So when her mother comes back one day, after many years, she jumps at the chance to live with her. Will things be different? Is Apple’s mum actually staying this time? Her mum tells her she has a surprise, a long lost sister called Rain.

I really enjoyed this book, it was one of those books that gripped you with a well written and emotional story. Although I’m sure there are many books in the same genre, as some of the story is very predictable, but the author did play to the plot so it wasn’t so predictable. Pretty much every chapter had a cliff hanger and along with that this book had a vast amount of content. By that I mean it didn’t stick to just her relationship with her mother; she had to have a good relationship with her sister; keep one with her Nana; find a new friend, and for once a teacher liked her and her work, and much more. The book was exciting and I didn’t think any pages were a waste of time, this is why I would tell people to read this book, although this romantic teenager genre is understandably not for everyone. For me this book was great and enjoyable. I didn’t find any flaws because I was too into the story. 9.5/10.

Debbie, from Wren Academy Barnet

Sometimes simplicity is what makes a story really shine, and I think Apple and Rain is one of those cases. The plot is straightforward, as is the writing and characters. And this simplicity really helps pack a powerful punch of emotions into you, emotions that will linger with you throughout the book.

However, despite being filled to the brim with emotions for some reason I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to the story as I thought I would be. Still, this story was of self-discovery, family love and relationship. Therefore I could show sympathy towards Apple and Rain, as their situation was tough.  

I really like the modern style of the book - if that makes sense - and because Apple is a teenage girl, it can be interpreted that Crossan targets an audience of relatable teenagers, which really helped to understand Apple’s feelings and thoughts. The plot may be simple, but I personally felt it was too simple and quite main stream, which helps my dislike. 

Apple's first person narrative is genuine and appealing. Crossan's plain writing style and natural dialogue is appropriate for her audience and the he pacing of the novel is good. Apple and Rain is a bittersweet tale, exploring contemporary themes in a realistic and thoughtful manner. 

I'd recommend it for readers around Apple’s age (12/13) and up.

Elysia, from East Barnet School

Apple is a thirteen-year-old girl, who has been waiting for her mother to come back, almost her whole life. When she finally returns Apple feels whole again, but after a while she finds out what you dream of is not always what you want. Go through a journey with Apple to find happiness, as her life is turned upside down. 

I loved this book. It was like a rollercoaster of emotions. The more I read, the more I got drawn in. I couldn’t put this book down. I would recommend this book to most girls and some boys eleven and over or to anyone with any personal struggles. It is the perfect book for you if you love books with a deep meaning and a mix of emotions.

I loved the poetry in this book; it was amazing and really spoke to me. However, at certain points in the book, I was slightly confused, but as I continued to read I understood. I would rate this book 9/10.

Emily, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I recently read Apple and Rain and really enjoyed the story, it has great character development and the plot is believable and interesting. I really like it because the story never stands still, there is always something going on with a thick plot that ties up nicely in the end.

Apple and Rain is about a girl named Apple who lives with her Nana, after her mum walked out on them when she was young. When Apple's mother returns it is bittersweet, because Apple has to decide between living with her strict Nana or, wild and irresponsible mum. This story features many different sub-plots within it and this makes it very interesting in my opinion. Apple changes enormously through the book, so you start to see her becoming who she really is, and you really start to empathise with her and her story.

Overall, I think Apple and Rain was an amazing read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories that are down to earth but fast moving and enjoyable.

Emma, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain is a realistic and original novel. I adored this book because it was like a roller coaster, full of so many unexpected twists and turns.

This book is about a girl called Apple who lives with her Nana. After eleven years of hoping and praying Apple is delighted when her mum finally returns and takes Apple to live with her and her other daughter, Rain. But life with her mum isn’t what she expected.  Apple starts skipping school to look after Rain, while her mother goes out all day and sometimes even at night, auditioning for plays. Did Apple make the right decision in going to live with her mum?

This book takes you into Apple’s world and is written so that you can clearly understand how Apple is feeling. Apple and Rain is now one of my favourite books.

Ethan, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple is a 13-year-old girl whose mother, Annie, left her when she was only two-years old to become an actress in America. Her father has since re-married a woman called Trish. Apple despises Trish because the only thing she ever says to her is 'cheer up'. Trish's marriage with Apple's father had come completely out of the blue. One day she had been asked to say 'hello' to her on the phone and the next day she was asked to be the flower girl at their wedding. Apple agreed but what she didn't know was that she would have to wear a puffy yellow dress that would make her look like a stuffed lemon. The only thing that Trish said all day to Apple was once again: 'cheer up' because she didn't want her spoiling the photographs. This episode shows how Apple is being made to wear a 'mask', being forced to pretend that she is somebody she's not. Meantime at school she is a girl who is constantly trying for to fit in with her peers.
The story unfolds when Apple lives with her strict but kind Nana who still picks her up from school, despite her being already thirteen. Nana had been entrusted with her care since Christmas 11 years ago. Apple loves her Nana but because of her constant babying her, she is being teased by the girls at school. Apple's only friend Pilar is drifting away and is finding a new group of friends. 
Apple hopes that her mother would come back one day and that this would solve her many problems so as to make her feel whole again. Then, one miserable school day, her prayers are answered. Apple receives a note which informs her that her mother is back from America and waiting to see her.
As it turns out, her mother's coming back is not the answer to all her prayers. Apple's mother is very glamorous, exciting and always up for a party. On the other hand though she is out of work, constantly looking for a job and without money.   
She loves Apple dearly and shows that love. However, she doesn't notice that she is often causing her harm; for example by encouraging Apple to drink and to party till late at night even though she has school the following day.
The return of Apple's mum provides Nana with the long awaited opportunity to let out her fury of having been left to take care for Apple for all those years whilst her daughter pursued her dreams of becoming an actress on Broadway. As a wall is thrown between them, Apple has conflicting thoughts: whether she should live with her overprotective Nana or live with her cool, free mother. 
After an argument with Nana, she decides that she wants to live with her mum. But what Apple doesn't know is that she has a 10-year-old half-sister called Rain. Rain is a lost girl who believes that her doll, Jenny, is a real baby who needs taking care of constantly. Her condition is gradually worsening and Apple is the only one who realises it. Although Rain acts strangely, occasionally Apple sees that she too has a gift for poetry and that, like herself, the thing Rain wants most in the world is to be loved by her mother. What becomes clear in the story is that Rain was an 'accident' whereas Apple was a wanted child. It is probably because of this reason that her mother expresses her love for Apple more consciously whilst not taking Rain very seriously. Her mother thinks that Rain is just going through a phase, whereas Apple sees that she is expressing all her love towards her doll because she is being excluded from her mother's love.
At her mother's flat she is more and more often missing school because she needs to look after Rain. Furthermore, she has to make her own food and fend for herself since her mum is leaving her alone for increasingly longer periods during her job searches.
Apple is a deep thinker and a witty girl who I found easy to connect to, maybe since we are around the same age. We see that Apple is a deep thinker since she has a talent for poetry. The book partly revolves around Apple's poetry that she does at school. Apple usually writes about aspects or problems in her life. We see this in a poem she writes about solitude.
'At a crowded concert, the seats all filled with bums.
I peep out at the audience and I think I see my mum.
She should be sitting at the front listening to me play.
But she is not there,
And is not here,
She's very far away.
Instead I have to dream of her, in America on her own,
Across the Atlantic Ocean, in another place, another time zone.
Does she close her eyes and think of me?
Does she close her eyes and smile?
Does she plan to come home some day
To be with me,
Her only child?
The book is mostly a sad one since much of the narrative describes her being alone at home looking after Rain or trying to hide away from the nasty girls who torment her at school. However the book does have its funny scenes, mostly with her cheerful neighbour, Del.
What I have found interesting is the fact that Apollinia (Apple's full name) and Rain have contradicting meanings. Apollinia comes from 'Apollo', the Greek god of the sun whereas Rain represents the opposite. Rain was the unwanted child who for the first time felt wanted when her half-sister Apple comes into her life. Conversely, Apple always wanted her mother's love but now that she has Rain she feels responsible for her and towards the end of the book develops love for Rain. Their relationship is somewhat like that of 'Ying' and 'Yang', making one another whole, that of opposites needing each other; after all, they are the daughters of the same mother.
Sarah Crossan has written this book with simplicity; without many twists and turns. I think that this simplicity fits the story perfectly because this is no action-packed adventure or tense mystery novel; it is a beautifully flowing story about family, love, the bitter sweet things life has to offer.
I rate these book 5 stars. It is a must read for anyone over the age of 10 and I must say I've enjoyed it thoroughly.

Hala, from Copthall School, Barnet

This story is about a girl named Apple whose mother left her on Christmas Eve when she was younger. Apple lives with her grandmother, and her father is re-married. After many years her mother returns and introduces her to her little sister Rain. Apple then moves in with her mother but not everything turns out as she expected. The story is set in modern times in England, and is written in first person The most interesting character is Rain because she is weirdly attached to her doll called Jenny. Apple always tries to make her get rid of Jenny. Del is another interesting character because he randomly starts attending Apple’s school and they become very close. Apple and Rain have a big argument and the next morning Rain disappears and has run away. Apple and Del look everywhere for her and they find her at last. 

Overall my opinion of the book is that everybody should read it because it is very interesting!

Hannah, from Wren Academy Barnet

Apple and Rain is a gripping book that is written by Sarah Crossman. It is about a girl called Apple (Appolina) Apostolopoulou. She is abandoned by her mother at a very young age, but after eleven years, her mother returns. This story is set in England and is written in Apple’s point of view. 

The main plot of the story is that Apple is living with her Nana who is really loving and caring, but also really strict. This is getting harder and harder for Apple to deal with because her best friend is currently being taken away from her by the most popular girl in the class. She has no one to turn to. What can she do? When her young and exiting mother finally comes back from America, Apple is overjoyed and moves in with her. Although, unknown to Apple is that there is more company in her mum’s flat than she thought. She has a little sister – Rain. At first Rain doesn’t like Apple, and the feeling is quite mutual. Apple gets frustrated with her because she is 10 and she still treats her doll as if it is real. Her relationship with her mother however, is going great. They are both happy to have each other around, and her mum even tries to help get Apple’s crush Egan to like her back, and invites him to one of her many parties, but he falls for her instead! After a while, Apple is asked to stay off school to look after Rain - because their mother is auditioning for roles as an actress. This begins to become an everyday thing and over time Apple and Rain begin to grow on each other and really care about each other. One day whilst they are out they meet Apple’s friend from school – Del. They end up spending the whole day together and get really close. So when Apple and Rain’s mother is away again - but overnight this time - and Rain goes missing, Del offers to help find her. Eventually, Apple decides that she needs some adult help and goes to her Nana, but she is in hospital. Everything is going wrong for Apple, however when she finally finds Rain all the tables turn. Mum comes home, Nana is out of hospital and finally Apple and Rain get the love and care they need. And it’s from Nana.

The main characters are Apple and Rain and their friend Del. There is Apple and Rain’s Nana, and their mother. Pilar is Apple’s supposed best friend, however when she is noticed by the most popular girl in the class she drops everything and leaves Apple with no one. Del is an optimist, a happy-go-lucky, always positive young boy who is the only one who can manage to lift Apple’s spirits as she faces a really tough time. I think that he taught me to always see the positive side of things when they’re hard. Throughout all of the heartbreak and hardship in the book he always managed to make Apple smile, me as well!

This book taught me to open my eyes to the very real situations that loads of children face every day. Because of this situation, I could empathise with Apple and her troubles, particularly her ones at school. This created a connection between me and her, as it would any reader.

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down! It was gripping and full of tension that made me not be able to stop! It was extremely well written, the storyline was absolutely marvellous, and I loved every minute of it! I would definitely read other books by Sarah Crossan and I would rate this one 9/10 for its amazing way of making you feel like you are right there yourself, and how you could relate to the thing going on. Not necessarily because of experience, but because it is described in lots of detail. Also because it was moving and made me think.

Harleigh, from Wren Academy Barnet

I felt that in the beginning of the book it was a little bit boring. However, as more characters (i.e.-Rain and Dell) were introduced the story became more enjoyable. I felt sorry for Apple as she had to do much more than a normal teenager. I liked the ending as all characters got what they wanted.

Jacob, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain, by Sarah Crossan, is set in London, and is about a girl named Apple whose mother left her at birth. Apple is taken care of by her strict grandmother who they call Nana. Nana doesn't let Apple go out by herself and picks Apple up from school even though Apple is 13. As a result every night Apple longs for her mother back.

One night her mother does come back but their reunion is not how Apple expects it, it is bittersweet. Apple is happy and she moves in with her mother. Her mother then goes to New York for a week every 2 weeks leaving her with her new sister called Rain. After a while Apple starts to see things as they really are.

I would recommend Apple and Rain because it is an intriguing book and explores the relationship between parent and child. This is a story about family betrayal, friend betrayal, siblings and school.

Jamie, from Jewish Community Secondary School

This story is about a girl called Apple, who lives with her Nana. Her dad recently got remarried and lives somewhere else with his new wife. Apple’s mum left eleven years ago for an unknown reason. Suddenly her mum reappears asking to see Apple. They do wonderful things together at the weekend then her mum wants Apple to live with her. Apple feels in a conflict, she doesn’t want to upset Nana but she really wants to live with her mum, because Nana never lets her go out and is too overprotective, on the other hand her mum seems very relaxed and promises her a lot more freedom. When Apple finally decides to live with her mum there is a big surprise waiting for her...

When I read this book I felt part of it because I really sympathised with characters. If I was Apple I would feel very lost and I wouldn’t know what to do. As a character Apple is very caring and helpful but has a short fuse. Rain (her new sister) is quiet, gets upset easily if she is annoyed and lives in her own fantasy world. Nana is very caring, overprotective, an amazing cook and is very religious. The characters make me feel like I’m stepping into their shoes and being them and the author has somehow included by making them aware of their conflicts and dilemmas.

This book was amazing and an easy read and at time very moving and thought provoking. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because it is so realistic and brings to life a situation which I would hate to run into. I would recommend this book for 11-14 year olds and would rate it 5/5.

Jessica, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain started off a little dull but by the end I was absolutely hooked! My favourite genre of books is when it’s about a girl or boy who is round about my age and it is set in real life which is what Apple and Rain was about. I could really sympathise with the characters in the book as it sounded like Apple and Rain’s life was quite tough. I think Apple dealt with it very well as she was left on her own looking after an irresponsible girl - Rain. The one thing I would change about this book is you never really know anything about Del’s background (what is his family like?) You never really know if Del has a good life or not and I am curious to know. If you like Jacqueline Wilson, you will love this as it is just like a more grown up version of one of her books.

Joanna, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I thoroughly enjoyed Apple and Rain! I usually guiltily just pick Jacqueline Wilson so this was a change for me. Apple is a girl who lived with her grandma, but one day her mum came home. Apple’s friend at school, Pilar, who she says is her only friend at school so if her friend isn’t there she’s got no one, goes off with popular girl Donna she really has got no one! And then she meets Rain her half-sister. I really like family drama books so this was perfect. I can’t find something I didn’t like about it. Although things went wrong and it changed at the end it was a happy ending!

Katerina, from St James Catholic High School

This is a beautiful story about family, love and the bitter sweet things life has to offer, and the value of hope.

This being my first Sarah Crossan novel, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Needless to say Apple and Rain did not disappoint.

I think we’re all familiar with the concept “beauty is simplicity” and I certainly think that this book fits that description perfectly.  The writing was poetic but not overly so. It was simple but pleasant, a joy.

The characters, especially Apple are so realistic that I found myself relating to her far more than I had expected to and I defy any thirteen-year-old girl not to connect with Apple. My admiration for Apple grew each time she crossed the line to save her relationship with the mother, who had abandoned her, the sister she never knew and the Nana, who she wrongly believed despised her. It was clear that all she ever wanted was that things would be OK and I just wanted to give Apple a big hug because she had so much to deal with.

Apple’s family was messed up and even that is an understatement. I for one don’t know how I would feel if, one day, I was to find I had a little sister that I had no idea existed.

The whole family makes mistakes, but there is one thing they have in common, love, love that they show to one another in their own unique way. 

On her journey Apple meets, what can only be called, a ray of sunshine, Del, who is bursting with optimism and the two build a wonderful friendship.

I feel that the book title could be Apple Rain and Hope because as Apple and Rain shows a little hope can go a long way.

You must read this book.

Kay-yee & Christina, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

Apple and Rain is about a young girl called Apple, who has lived with her grandmother since her mum left her 11 years ago. Her Nana (grandmother) is quite strict. The story uncovers the mystery of why her mum left her at such a young age and didn’t tell her.

The story involves love, betrayal and repetition. It makes the reader feel melancholy and sympathy for Apple. The only question remaining is will her mother return and would Apple have the heart to forgive her. The moral is, You might not get what you want, face reality.

Lara, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple & Rain is about a girl called Apple (short for Apollinia) who has lived with her grandmother for eleven years, since her mother ran off to America to become an actress. But suddenly, out of the blue, Apple’s mother returns. Apple goes to live with her but her mother has a surprise and Apple isn’t sure how it will turn out. Suddenly Apple realises that her mother’s life is anything but glamorous. 

This is a fantastic book with great ideas. I enjoyed it because it’s a bit of a change to my usual style and it really gets you thinking about how privileged you are to have an easy life and how quickly that could change, like it did with Apple. However, although I really liked the book I found it extremely unrealistic. Even though it may be very unrealistic, it is a book and I would still recommend it for 9-12 year olds.

Lauren, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple and Rain is a story about a young girl called Apple, who after a long eleven years, finally reunites with her long lost mum who abandoned her on the night before Christmas. When Mum turns up out of the blue, Apple’s life is turned completely upside down. Everything she thought she knew is in turmoil, and she will do anything she can to keep her family together. An amazing story of poetry, love and family.

I thought this book was a gripping novel, and found it a great struggle to put it down. It was fascinating, and I loved it. What I like most about this book is how emotional and well written each character was. This story is full of secrets and has a new surprise on every page. My favourite character is probably Apple, because I love how she can manage to stay strong throughout everything she’s been through, and how intelligent and talented she is. She is also very sassy; pulling silly faces in her Dad’s wedding photos, which were taken by a very expensive photographer.

My least favourite character is Mum, as she has caused all the trouble and just disappeared. Suddenly she randomly came back out of nowhere and expects everybody to welcome her as if nothing has happened. She can’t pretend like she hasn't vanished for years. 

I’d recommend this book to ages 9+

Lucy, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Everyone has a dream. Some dreams are more realistic than others. But for Apple, the only dream she’s ever had is one that everyone else has given up on. All she wants is for her mum to come home. But when that dream is realised, things turn out to be a bit more complicated than Apple ever anticipated… 

I love this book for the simple reason that it made me feel like I was there, in the characters’ shoes, feeling everything they felt. It had a twisting and turning plot that made it impossible to put down. Empathising with all of the characters was easy because of the artful way the author told us their stories. However, I do wish that Sarah Crossan had told us a lot more about one particular character: Pilar. She plays Apple’s best friend until Donna Taylor, the most popular girl in the school, steals her away. I would have loved to know a bit more about Pilar’s backstory and why she ditched Apple for Donna. I feel it was important in this book to know all about the characters as this is a story of relationships. With parents, siblings, friends and teachers alike, you should feel as if you know every character personally. 

But overall, I think this is a very well written, gripping story and I would recommend it to someone who wants to try something new.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5. It is not the best book I have ever read but it is a nice, flowing, easy read and for someone like me, who usually just sticks to dystopian and action novels, it was really good to try out something new.

Manojj, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

Apple and Rain, the work of author Sarah Crossan, is a tale of family and love, which questions the importance of relationships and those around us.

As a toddler, Apple remembers very little, however, one memory is implanted firmly into her mind, her mother’s disappearance. Ten years on, aged thirteen, Apple is living with her traditional grandmother yet still longs for her mother to return, having fled to the USA in pursuit of an acting career. When her mother returns, for Apple she is a breath of fresh air, modern and urban compared to her grandmother, and Apple is eager to move in. However, as time passes, Apple begins to realise her mother is not the perfect individual she imagined her to be, especially when she discovers the existence of an American sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, portraying many relationships and illustrating the nature of families perfectly, not necessarily the perfect bunch of people we expect them to be. In the case of Apple, we see a development of her relationship with her sister, Rain The two go from arch enemies to two children working together with the utmost amount of care for one another. The first person narrative provides us with a clear insight into the life of Apple, a thirteen-year-old girl, and her contemporary views. I found this easy to relate to, as the views shared by youth within our society conflict with that of older generations. In this story, this is a source of tension between Apple and her Nan, creating awkward situations between ‘friends’. 

However, when Apple meets Del, a neighbourhood boy, he strikes her as someone special and unique, not the typical teenage boy that Apple is so fed up of dealing with. That’s the thing about this book which makes it so desirable, the tone and style of writing. The plot is frank and to the point, with little sugar coating. This allows a fast moving story, in which so many emotions are felt at one time. To me, the utilisation of poetry within a book is a very interesting choice, as we see a progression of Apple’s life merely through her poems. To her, poetry is a release from reality, yet allows her to channel her feelings onto paper. 

Comparing the plot to reality, this story is particularly realistic, set in a beach town in England, centred on normal people, exploiting the typical traits of people living in the modern society. This story shows things for what they are, and is upbeat and up-to-date, centred on key themes of today’s youth; the gossip, the friendships and today’s alcohol culture. 

On such notes, the character of Annie, Apple’s mother, is an interesting subject of discussion. She appeals to Apple with her upbeat and ‘cool’ fashion, persuading Apple to take a liking to her. However, after being left from school for over two weeks and home alone, Apple decides it isn’t the right choice, and moves back to her Nan. The story shows many relationships, made, broken and rekindled. Del seems like a breath of fresh air to Apple, a boy with a passion for others, causing a romance to develop. 

This book has not only shown me the insight into one life, but has taught me something about my own. Although things come together at the end, it is not how Apple’s expects, but that is one lesson of life. Life is what you make it and families come in many forms, like Apple’s. Finally, being human means we make mistakes and aren’t perfect, though we always try to be. 

Rating for Unputdownability : 5/5

Mary-Anthi, from East Barnet School

Apple and Rain is a great book with sad, funny and happy moments. It is written in first person with the main character being Apple. At the end of the book Apple becomes a new stronger person and finds out she has a gift for poetry.

This book fills you with many emotions and along with Apple you realise what’s important in life. Even though there is a devastating part in the book it ends with a sweet, happy-ending!

Melis, from Wren Academy Barnet

In 2012, almost three years ago, I reviewed the Weight of Water for the WeRead Conference. I enjoyed the book and so gave it a positive review. I am happy to do the same for this book - Apple and Rain! This marks yet another great book from the author.

13-year-old Apple is overjoyed when her mother returns home after 11 years’ absence with no contact from her. However, her joy is short lived as she discovers she has a half-sister, Rain. She goes from living with her “uber- responsible” (Apple’s own words) and loving Nana, to living with her scatter-brained mother and Rain. Her sister won’t leave her baby doll Jenny, who she is convinced, is a human baby. As Rain is teased in school, she gets to stay home, and as a result Apple does as well, acting as a nanny, maid and cleaner while she should be in school. 

Its characters are very inspirational, especially Apple, who has to juggle struggling to fit in at her school and losing her friends, and caring for half-sister Rain whilst their negligent mother tries to find herself acting jobs. Apple is also a talented poet and expresses her life’s problems through her poetry, in the same way Rain expresses herself through her doll Jenny. I loved that Apple has a lot of patience for Rain and even after their battle; she made up with Rain and her Nana, and showed her patience and love for her family members.

I liked the character Del, the strange and unconventional boy who is Apple’s neighbour. Most characters in this book had their respective problems, and in that respect, his profile was interestingly sparse as he seemed to have none. Del was always reassuring to the sisters in the book and I admired his courage. Del even helped Apple to find Rain after she went missing. Del is different and was very inspirational as a character; he was one of my favourites. 

 In conclusion, I would say that Apple and Rain affected me by the topics I feel quite passionate about: child neglect and underage drinking. It was a captivating novel; it had a way of effortlessly engaging the reader.

Mona, from Wren Academy Barnet

Apple lives with her Nana since her mother ran away to America eleven years before. When Apple’s best friend, Pilar, befriends the class bully she starts to feel left out.

When Apple’s mother returns, Apple is overjoyed. However, when she is introduced to someone who is even more lost than she is she starts to notice that she is the one looking after everyone else.

This book reveals lots of mixed emotions and makes us think deeply about our own emotions and how well we love our friends. 

Nayshil, from Queen Elizabeth's Boys School, Barnet

Apple and Rain was a very good book overall, with the different themes of the story, the plot twists and turns and the different types of writing used throughout.

This book is about a girl nicknamed Apple who lives with her grandmother and sometimes her estranged father, longing for a mother to guide her after hers left all those Christmases ago. When her wish finally does come true, she jumps at the opportunity to live with her mother and then finds out that she has a long lost sister called Rain and they have many adventures.

There are many different themes in this book. From longing for a boy older than her, to losing her best friend, to the everyday struggles of growing up in a torn family the variety and expressions to these themes work brilliantly. 

Throughout the book the writer uses poetry written by Apple to explain her feelings at different points in time. These poems really express the feeling of Apple at these times and give the reader a break from prose to poems, which is very original and refreshing.

Unputdownability: 1000000000/10

Nicole, from Wren Academy Barnet

Apple’s dimension between truth and in disguise

Where her wishes came in a true form

“Be careful on what you wish for” - Nana

But the illusion for rules: being annoying

Could be right

And the ‘cool’ acting lasts for short

Or long until you realise that you are 

Not who you are –second chances to transform.

The people who care for you are

The ones that you can rely 

On in any circumstances.

The people who have left you

Deserve a second chance?

She had the choice and she chose

To live without Apple.

She had their chance

Can someone change

In thirteen years?

Second chances have their limits.

Each person has their views

Apples has hers whereas I have mine.

After a second chance is there the third chance?

No one can say…

No one can know…

No one can.

The souls that you care for 

Come to the truth where 

You are not blinded any longer

And you make more of those souls 

When you meet;

Making new memories

And realising who are not important.

The power is in the heart

The beating and the un-beating

Rain and Apple benefitting from each other

After a long fight and dislike

Can’t live without each of their presence

And each became important

Jenny in between the relationship

Or is she?

She is important to Rain so shouldn’t

She be important to Apple?

The abnormal is not strange

The strange is not abnormal either

Happiness is what counts but

Not being happy either way is 

Not the right thing.

Friendship should be everlasting

Fake friendship looks for an excuse - Donna

Just to avoid or not be friends.

Once you make a choice you need

To be proud and not regret it

That is the key for the locket

Hidden in the heart.

Oliver, from University College School London

Apple and Rain is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl, called Apple, who feels lost in herself and her life ever since her mother left her with her grandma, who she calls Nana, when she was two. As she grew up a void in her heart opened up a, a need for her mother whom she has just one memory of. Apple’s only memory of her mother was from Christmas Eve, when the wind was howling outside and it was thundering down, she saw her mother dressed in a green coat arguing with Nana in the doorway, at the time she doesn’t know what is going on but she will later learn that her mother leaves that night for the glitz and glamour of America and Broadway. While for many Christmas is a time of joy and giving despite Nana’s best effort for Apple it is a time of longing for the one thing she truly wants more than anything else in the world her mother to return home. At the same time Apple’s social life is in free fall as her age-old best friend has become chummy with the super popular girls in the year and Apple is left on the side lines bitterly hurt.

Then Apple’s mother returns Apple feels whole again but it’s bitter-sweet; her mother isn’t who she hoped she would be and is instead a neglecting, alcoholic mess who is more interested in her acting career than her children eating. On arrival at her mother’s new flat Apple discovers she isn’t her mother’s only daughter and her little sister needs serious emotional help. Apple struggles to take all of this in and school gets pushed to the side as she decides this is actually what is best but this burning desire inside of her for her mother to be just as perfect as she imagined stops her seeing the how unfit a parent her mother really is. And in this pain Apple drowns before realising what is the best thing for both her, her sister Rain, her mother and Nana who has held strong to her beliefs and is trying to help the girls as best she can. 

Apple’s mother who appears to mean well for her children yet treats them in a manner that would make you think differently. An example of this is when she left them for over 48 hours without telling them that she was to be gone twice the agreed time she also doesn’t learn from her mistakes. It’s clear that Apple was an unintentional pregnancy by two seventeen-year-olds so one would imagine she would be hesitant to produce a second child but instead within three months at the most after leaving Apple she conceives Rain (Rain is three years younger than Apple and Apple’s mum left when Apple was two). But mostly she isn’t a very loving mother especially towards Rain not picking up on what Rain is trying to tell her.

The most interesting character is Rain she has this attachment to a doll called Jenny who she convinces everyone she believes is real, but the reader notices that she uses Jenny to express how she feels so if she doesn’t like something she will say Jenny doesn’t like it or it’s making Jenny cry but if she is enjoying herself or likes something instead of not doing it to be with the doll she completely forgets about the doll. In contrast to this when she feels her mother is neglecting her she cuddles the doll and acts how she thinks her mother should behave - instead of smoking and drinking in front of the TV complaining about her hangover while Apple is in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and doing the mum’s job for her. Rain observes all of this seeing how it went from just the mother and her in America to the mother her and Apple in the UK. This causes her to get even less attention than she did on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I am actually not quite sure which age group this book is really for as it covers topics that can only be understood by someone over the age of eleven yet the actual vocabulary is of the level of an eight year old so this book doesn’t really have an age range but I would recommend it to someone who is over eleven. One of the aspects that makes the book more appealing to older readers is that it incorporates poetry into the novel with the poem they are studding in the story mimic how she feels this is what I feel makes Apple and Rain a quality read.

Rachel, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple’s mum left her and her Nan on Christmas Eve and ever since then Apple has been living with her Nan. When Apple’s mum returns home her only question to ask her is -“Why did you leave us in the first place?” But when her mum finally returns she meets people that she would never have thought to see or talk to. 

As Annie, Apple’s mum, starts to become a responsible mother it all goes downhill when she starts having parties on Saturday nights and letting Apple have days off school to care for a long-lost family member! It is a story of a beautiful family that love each other but sometimes it just doesn’t work between them.

My favourite part of the story is when Apple’s mum unexpectedly returns home, it is my favourite part because it is totally unexpected and I love when things like that happen in stories. I also loved how the author chose the name of the book, I thought it was very clever, (you need to get quite far through the book to understand how she choose it!) I wouldn’t go for this type of book but since I read it has influenced me to want to read more books like this.

Ralua, from Copthall School, Barnet

Apple, our protagonist, feels like she's lost. ‘Her heart feels like a flower from which petals are falling’. Apple's mother left when Apple was young to start her career in America. She lives with her Nana, but is not fond of her strict rules. Her dad has a new wife who Apple thinks is cruel.

When her mum returns after eleven years, Apple is delighted to go and live with her, even though she hasn't actually thought how this would affect her and other people's lives. Rage erupts within Apple when she finds she has a half-sister called Rain, who doesn't return Apple’s affection. Her life goes from bad to worse when her lying, broken mother disappears for two days and her sister goes missing too. Her one friend Pilar deserts her for the popular crowd, and her ultimate sixth-former crush betrays her. Apple then realises what she has done. Who's going to save her last petal? The new 'annoying' boy, that's who! But can her heart be filled again? I would give it 4/5 stars.

Rochelle, from St James Catholic High School

I thought The Weight of Water was an outstanding book but this author just gets better and better.

Apple and Rain was an amazingly tender story about learning to love. I really could not put it down I found every single word captivating.

I am so very glad that I came across Sarah Crossan and I can’t wait for her next novel.

Shani, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Apple Apostolopoulou was only a little two year old peering through the stair gate when she watched her mother leave. She's lived with her devoted Nana ever since but at thirteen and a half she's tired of being picked up from school, missing out on getting chips on the pier with the popular girls. Nana's over-bearing protection has cost her a best friend and a chance to be in with the in-crowd and she's invisible to the eyes of gorgeous sixth former Egan.

She's feeling lower than ever when her mum suddenly appears back into her life bringing inappropriate parties and skipped days from school. Apple's mum is reckless, but she's also beautiful, young and fun. Moving in with her mum is a roller coaster - shopping and lunches out one day, abandoned with a box of Ready Brek and a hangover the next, it's a world away from the religious routine of Nana's house but with freedom comes responsibility and when Apple meets Rain it becomes clear that her mum isn't particularly good at looking after anyone - including herself.

Rain's story is worse than Apple’s and she can’t help but have sympathy for this doll obsessed little girl. Apple’s heart is won over by home-schooled Del, who’s a flirty comedian. 

Apple and Rain is such an engrossing and charming novel with such a brilliant story about growing up and learning to love. I absolutely loved the book and found it so intriguing that I couldn’t wait till I could read it again.

Thomas, from University College School London

This book Apple and Rain written by Sarah Crossan is written in the first person and is about a thirteen-year-old girl’s modern day problems (Apple) with her friends, family, teachers and bullies. It is an engaging book for younger audiences that easily relate to the main character Apple.

The story starts with Apple’s mum leaving her to go to America at the age of two. Eleven years later she still isn’t back, Apple is living with her protective grandmother and has a friend called Pilar. Her dad announces that he’s going to get married, Apple escapes to the back garden and meets a boy named Del. Soon though because of how restrictive Nana is Pilar is soon pulled away from her by Donna someone she could have been friends with. Then out of the blue her mum shows up back from America and offers to take Apple, she agrees since she’s annoyed at how restrictive Nana is so leaves. She gets taken to Mum’s beautiful new flat in her new car. Then she meets her little sister Rain who is attached to her doll Jenny. Soon as things start to fall apart because her mum has to go leaving Apple at home with Rain, Apple starts to see that all was not what she thought.

Apple is a pretty average girl without a mum and a dad that has become distant because of the lack of a wife, she seems to be pretty shut off with only one friend but she is willing to make more but soon Pilar will be pulled away from her and she will have to deal with a little sister. Nana, Apple’s grandmother, is a protective and loving grandparent like any other but because of how much she loves her grandchild sometimes she can be a bit restrictive and stop Apple from fitting in. Rain is Apple’s little sister who loves her doll Jenny she treats it as a baby and refuses to leave it. Reliant on the doll Rain seems confused but her mum keeps telling herself it’s just a phase. Apple’s mum left her for eleven years and never spoke to her, now she’s back and she has a glamorous car and flat and works as an actor, but to keep going to auditions she has to keep leaving Apple alone at home.

Overall I enjoyed Apple and Rain, it was an interesting light-hearted book that had well developed and relatable characters. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of ten and up to any age, as is can be hard to understand some of the topics at a younger age, who likes teen stories that are light-hearted.

Zahrah, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

Apple and Rain is an extremely well-written story with a satisfying plot and rewarding conclusion. I especially enjoyed the fact that it is believable and convincing – it made me feel as though I was actually there. The book was rewarding in the sense that, at times I could relate to the emotions of the protagonist, Apple and the things she was experiencing. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, realistic novel.