As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives someone else lemons, make them an apple tart. Well, that's what Oscar Dunleavy does anyway. As the blurb on the back of the book explains, "It's not an ordinary apple tart. It's magic. It's the apple tart of hope. After you've taken a bite, the whole world will look almost completely different. Things will start to change and by the time you've had a whole slice, you'll realise that everything is going to be OK."
It's just a shame that nobody was around to bake one for Oscar when his life started to go to pot. Now he's missing, presumed dead, after his bike was found at the end of the pier and his shoes were found in the sea. His heartbroken dad and friends are desperately trying to come to terms with his suicide but his wheelchair bound little brother Stevie won't give up hope.
When I read Sarah Moore Fitzgerald's debut novel Back To Blackbrick, I was surprised to see how powerful and touching a children's novel could be. With The Apple Tart of Hope, she works her magic again, masterfully evoking how hard it can be to be a teen, dealing with first love, bullying and how desperately important it is to fit in at school. It's sure to strike a chord with young readers in the same predicament but, even as a grown-up with my teen years far behind me, I could still really empathise with the characters.
It's full of great life lessons, from helping others and valuing your friendships to not taking things at face value and, above all, never giving up hope, even when the odds are against you. It's a poignant read, with moments of great sadness but ultimately a heart-warming feel-good ending.
It's only 193 pages long so I raced through it in two days, but the characters will stay with you long after you've turned the final page. Buy it for your kids but make sure you read it too !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £10.99
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Orion Childrens (5 Jun 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444006924
- ISBN-13: 978-1444006926
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.6 x 2.4 cm
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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