Challenge 32 ~ “A book set during Christmas.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I wasn’t expecting to complete this challenge until much further into the year- I like to keep Christmas confined within the winter period – but I managed a compromise with this. Apple and Rain isn’t wholly set at Christmas, but the most pivotal scene in the novel is, and so I can justify classifying it thus. The novel’s timeline actually seems to incorporate a large portion of the year, but is well-paced and moves fluently.
At first the plot Crossan establishes appears to be a stereotypical family drama, complete with the high school elements, but the themes were handled in a unique context, and it was kept lively with plot twists. It was an engaging read, paced expertly to enable matters to progress realistically whilst maintaining the reader’s attention. On the whole the characters were well-handled, but Del seemed to be a character of circumstance. This flexibility seemed to raise questions over the realistic nature of the storyline, although his absence from large parts of the main body seemed to secure the illusion.
On the whole I have never been particularly enamored by novels written in verse – both poetry and storybooks have a place in my heart but I have yet to find a book which fuses these seamlessly. Apple and Rain does not attempt to be a narrative written in verse, but intersperses poetic works throughout the novel. These are true gems, with beautiful language that wholly captures the atmosphere of each scenario. So well-written are these that I feel inspired to read more of Crossan’s works.
Apple & Rain can at first appear quite typical, but it is a work of art. I would not have picked it up usually, but it’s (undoubtedly well-deserved) place on the Carnegie shortlist meant that I did, and it is an action I do not regret. Crossan twists what could have been just another family/high-school drama into a remarkable tale, scattered with poetic wonders.
Recommended for fans of:
– Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
– Desperate Measures by Laura Summers
– Breathe by Abbi Glines