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Sakura

The Apple Tart of Hope - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

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Oscar and Meg are best friends. Their houses are right beside each other and they can chat from their rooms windows. But then Meg has to move to New Zealand with her parents for half a year, and the friends come apart for a bit. Then suddenly Meg gets informed that Oscar has vanished and is presumed dead, a suicide case. She moves back home with her parents prematurely and tries to figure out where Oscar has gone to and what has happened to the formerly happy, popular boy.

 

 

I have to admit, I did not like the book much. I felt both main charaters did not act as teenagers. You could has easily called them students or young adults and probably would not have noticed anything amiss. Only in their written communication you get some small glimses of teenage slang.

As a contrast you get a villain so stereotypical high-school mean girl she's basically just a cut out, not an actual person with likes and dislikes, strength and weaknesses. She's just all bad.

 

Also, the book throws in some magical, fairy-tail like elements in the beginning, but then kinda denies they exist and arguments them away. It has to do with Oscars habbit of baking apple tarts and giving them to people how are having a hard time and feeling down. It makes them instantly feel a lot better. They even mention he can smell their despair and delivers his tarts to people he doesn't even know. But then they do a backflip and just explain it away with logical means. It's a bit strange, since it kinda changes the overall tone of the book in diferent places.

All in all, I found I missed some kind of meaning in it. There is a lot of talk about love and friendship, popularity and mobbing, secrets and lies, but nothing seemed to be meaningfull, personal or deep. Oscar is very distant throughout the whole book, Meg is a little better, but she hasn't anything relevant to say either.

 

The autor uses a lot of flowering, sweeping language to talk about emotions and revelations, but they just seems meaningfull and deep until you looked at the actual content of the words and found that there's nothing there. It's just nice words and platitudes made to sound important. And that's sad, because I could see it as a pretty good book, if they just stuck to the magical realism, the fairy tail elements and actually found something emotional to say about it all.

 

As it is I give it a 2 out of 5.

 

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I loved it when I read it last year.  Here's my review from back then:

 

Shortlisted for the Best Fiction for Teens category of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2015

 

Review:
What a great book to start my reading of the Teen category with. The story starts in the middle at a memorial service, then with alternating narrative from Meg and Oscar, we find out how it all started and led to the memorial service, and what happens afterwards. It deals with a whole range of things that teenagers might experience, including bereavement and bullying, along with growing up and figuring out who you are.

 

One of the highlights for me, were the scenes near the sea, with a real feeing of what growing up in a seaside town can mean, and how the sea can work its way into your psyche and become part of you.

 

If I had one tiny criticism, it's that maybe it's a bit too lightweight for the subject matter, almost lacking a touch of reality, but I'm really nitpicking here, and I did love reading it.

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