book review

Quick Review- Surviving the Applewhites

By Shar

Good morning (or whatever) This week I have been busy with finishing up school (the last day was yesterday) and other things. I technically have one exam this afternoon, but it’s RE (which is open bible… do you think that sounds funny) so I’ll be all right. I recently finished this very sweet MG book, which I actually got out for my brother to read (since I’d already read it) but that didn’t happen so I did.

Title: Surviving the Applewhites

Authour: Stephanie Tolan

Awards: Newbury Honor (And I don’t think I’ve read any Newbury I haven’t liked

picture from Amazon
picture from Amazon

Genre: Conteporary MG

Themes: Drama, family, friendship, living in the Deep South (or is it the deep south?)

Basic Idea: Jake is a bad kid. He’s been kicked out of every state in Rhode Island and now one in North Carolina (Americans, I don’t know geography. But these aren’t neighbours, right?) Nobody will take him, and his parents are in prison. The only option left is the Creative Academy, a home school run by the crazy, artsy Applewhite family, or juvie (Juvenile detention, fyi). E.D, the only non-crazy, non-artistic, organised member of the family, isn’t all that excited about him coming. She just knows he’ll burn the school down, or kill a goat or something. With spiky dyed hair and all black clothes, it seems Jake will never fit in. But when the local production of The Sound of Music needs a home, maybe Jake is more Applewhite than anyone would think.

What I liked: The characters were good. This was light and funny, but also touched on important themes. Destiny (the youngest Applewhite) was adorable, even if he should have cried like a normal four year old. Even though it’s a contemporary, the premise was actually pretty good and surprising. Β The setting was fabulous. The butterflies were awesome. The ending was good, even if I wanted it to tie up loose ends.

What I disliked: Jake’s transformation was not all that comprehensible. Some characters, like Marcia Manning, Paulie, Hal, and Govindswami weren’t really necessary. There wasn’t a great deal of background information. Jake and E.D both didn’t really act like 12 or 13 year olds (and I should know, considering I live with one)

favourite characters: Lucille (an aunt), Wolfbane (a goat), Randolph (the dad), and Bernstein (a reporter whose car breaks down and is stuck with them for a few months)

Character: 3/5

Setting: 5/5

Premise: 4/5

Plot: 3/5

Total: 3/5

Have you read this book? How do you feel about MG (it always cheers me up)? What was the highlight of your week? Do you have school/university finishing up?

10 thoughts on “Quick Review- Surviving the Applewhites

  1. I haven’t even heard of this one before but it totally does sound cool!! I LIKE MG. But, to be honest, I do get picky when it comes to a good MG. >.> I just read Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman, though, and adored it! (Although I don’t know…is that lower than MG? It felt like more first-reader style. Well, not FIRST reader. But, gah, what am I saying? SHUUSH CAIT. YOU’RE SO WEIRD.) I like MG when it’s timeless, I think.


    1. Yes cait, shush. You’re sooooo weird. Well I’m glad you enjoyed fortunately, the milk, even if it makes you go on weird random tangents. I thought this was timeless, and fun. It’s not that long, either. Thanks for your comment!


  2. I actually love MG! There’s something about it that is endearing (it has kids!) and innocent (again, it has kids!) and every time it becomes deeper and more complex, it has a way of becoming more impactful (because, well, kids!). I have never heard of this one before, but I’d love to give it a try. It feels like it would work like a comic book!

    Faye at The Social Potato


  3. Ooh the story sounds so interesting! I want to read it now :> I love MG books and I hope to read this soon! Why have I not heard of this before? Asdfj; the synopsis really hooked me, haha! πŸ™‚ Good luck with your exam, by the way! I’ll be cheering you on πŸ˜€


    1. Thanks Jillian! Yeah, that exam was fine. Maybe you haven’t hear of it because it’s older (about 13 years old, actually). But I think it’s pretty good and fun so yes do read it and tell me what you think πŸ™‚


  4. Good luck with your RE! You will be awesome! American-school books are impossible for me. Like, what is a sofa-more? Why do you need more sofas?


    1. Oh thanks! my exam was exactly the same questions word for word as the study guide, but I still didn’t know a few answers. A sophomore is someone in grade 10 (like me), aka O-level age. But it is pretty confusing and I never use those phrases.


  5. Ha, I can’t keep American states straight either! I can memorise all of the Chinese provinces + their location, but mention Minnesota or whatnot and I’ll just go to sleep. Contemporaries do have a lighter mood, but they’re normally a hit or miss with me, and the misses are normally for characterisation, so I think I’ll pass on this one.


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