09 December 2008

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Aslaug is a fifteen-year-old girl who would have been average if she had just lived a different life. Aslaug was born to a woman who claimed to “have never had a lover,” and was then raised in isolation, her only companions being lessons in religion, language, and botany. When Aslaug’s mother dies, she discovers that she has an aunt and two cousins who live nearby. She is fascinated by her cousins, who seem equally fascinated by her, although for different reasons, and her relationships with her newfound family go through dramatic shifts as the plot progresses. Told through shifting time periods, half of the story follows the events following Aslaug’s mother’s death up to the present time; the other piece of the whole covers the trial for the death of Aslaug’s aunt and cousin. Religion, magic, and science play major roles in the mood and depth of this story. Ultimately, this story leaves readers focused on the idea of perspective, and how the understanding of theories and actions can completely change based on the point of view of the storyteller.

While the text of the story sometimes drifts uncontrollably to botany details and longwinded religious debate (mostly historical rather than contemporary controversial), this is an original and fascinating novel about family, self, perception, and love. Because of high-quality content, the writing and story are best suited for high school readers. The cover is breathtaking, and the characters unpredictable, and the story captivating.

This book is recommended to high school readers.
Call number: YA MELDRUM (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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