Looking for a good read?
The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald has been named a People Best Children's
Book of 2016! Read below for some reviews!
*Starred Review* Irish 14-year-olds Oscar and Meg are not just next-door neighbors, they are best friends who share all their dreams and struggles and draw strength from each other. When Meg's father needs to leave Ireland for a six-month research sabbatical in New Zealand, it's Oscar who encourages Meg to embrace the opportunity. But her absence leaves Oscar in a dark place where he is bullied and pushed to the breaking point. Oscar's decision to bike off the local pier into icy waters brings Meg home under circumstances she never could have foreseen. This beautifully constructed story begins with the Day of Prayer for Oscar, who is missing and presumed dead. Told in alternating chapters by Oscar and Meg, their friendship, and subsequently deeper feelings, are slowly revealed to the reader, climaxing in a wonderful revelation of truth. Fully developed secondary characters—such as Oscar's disabled younger brother and Paloma, who tries to take Meg's place—add richness and depth to this lyrically written tale, which explores themes of manipulation, self-discovery, hope, and love. Middle-school readers taken with Ali Benjamin's The Thing about Jellyfish (2015) will be drawn to Oscar and Meg's story. This touching novel is one to savor. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
When fourteen-year-old Oscar disappears and his bike is found in the ocean, almost everyone assumes he committed suicide. His best friend Meg, refusing to believe it, struggles to discover what happened to her sweet, optimistic friend after she moved away from Ireland to New Zealand. Melodic prose and well-defined characters keep the pages turning through the satisfying plot's many turns. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
When Meg's family travels to New Zealand for six months, her best friend, Oscar, suffers a series of humiliations that lead him to try and take his own life. After receiving the news of Oscar's disappearance, Meg's family returns to Ireland to find everyone searching. But after weeks without luck, only Meg and Oscar's brother, Stevie, refuse to give up the hope that Oscar is still alive. Meg begins to piece together the events that led to Oscar's desperate plummet off the town's pier. Chapters told from Oscar's point of view show that he is alive but in hiding. The two interlocking stories reveal the terrible plan designed to break Oscar's spirit as well as the person responsible at its heart. While this is a sweet story of friendship and first love, it is also a road map for keeping hope alive. And while Oscar temporarily loses his way, he is quick to point out that others should never stop searching. Clueless adults, an over-the-top mean girl, and a picturesque small-town atmosphere all come together to make this a quiet story that may be the tiny push that someone thinking of giving up needs to keep going. Meg, a prototypical pale, Irish redhead, and Stevie, who uses a wheelchair and is absolutely indomitable, make a formidable team. Sweetly satisfying. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 6–8—The story begins with the disappearance of Oscar, whose bicycle was found at the edge of a pier. He is presumed drowned. His best friend, Meg, knows he can't be dead, but only Oscar's younger brother shares that belief. Meg begins to investigate, trying to uncover the boy's whereabouts. The work is told in two voices, Meg's and Oscar's, and teens will slowly piece together the events that led up to the disappearance. In flashbacks, readers learn about the relationship of these close friends and next-door neighbors. Oscar is gentle and perceptive, a boy whose ability to create happiness and contentment with his special apple tarts make him a well-liked person. When Meg's parents relocate the family to New Zealand for a year, she is devastated and doesn't want to leave. Meanwhile, things begin to fall apart for Oscar when a new girl, Paloma, moves in next door. When she is gently rejected by Oscar, she manipulates his feelings, and the kids at school make Oscar pay for his rejection. On one hand, this is a very sweet story about first love. Readers will delight in watching Meg and Oscar transition from friendship to love while they become enraged at Paloma's bullying behavior. In addition to the romance, there is also plenty of intrigue and mystery to engage readers not typically drawn to love stories. VERDICT Sweet romance encased in a compelling mystery.—Patricia Feriano, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD