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Publication Date: June 5th 2014
Where did I get this book?: the local library!
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Oscar Dunleavy is missing, presumed dead. His bike was found at sea, out past the end of the pier, and everyone in town seems to have accepted this as a teenage tragedy. But Oscar’s best friend Meg knows he isn’t dead. Oscar is an optimistic and kind boy who bakes the world’s best apple tarts; he would never kill himself, and Meg is going to prove it.
Through interwoven narratives, the reader learns what really happened to Oscar. Meg must confront the painful truth of Oscar’s past six months—and the possibility that he might really be gone. Surrounded by grief and confusion, she starts to put the pieces back together. This story of love and friendship reminds us to keep hope in our hearts.
My Rating: : ☆☆☆☆☆
Last week I went on a spontaneous but much-needed library run. I haven’t had a lot of time to read in months, and this Spring Break has been the perfect time to just relax and read. I picked up quite a few books – eighteen, to be exact (wow, MC – that’s pretty ambitious, checking out 18 books when you only have one week, but go knock yourself out…) – and this little treasure of a book, The Apple Tart Of Hope, was one of them.
At only 154 pages, I wasn’t expecting this to be a very long read, but it took me longer than expected. This wasn’t a book to speed read. Every sentence held its own importance, and I loved that. It made me wish I was Meg, and could live next-door to Oscar and talk out of my window with him every day. How fun would that be? It brought me into an alternate world of growing up, imagining having a friend with whom I could bake apple tarts and go biking around the town.
What I loved most about The Apple Tart Of Hope is hard to pinpoint. It was all so perfect. The voices rang true. It was easy to relate to and resonate with Meg’s and Oscar’s feelings and thoughts. The adventure of reminiscing from their different points of view to finally understand all of what had led up to Oscar’s disappearance was heartfelt and honest and messy, much like baking an apple tart, as it turns out.
“But it’s no ordinary apple tart. 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 everything is going to be okay.”
There is a bit of a trigger warning going into this book – it deals with the topic of suicide and suicidal thoughts, never going super heavy but still handled with a serious spirit.
Also in the story is a toxic and manipulative character whose sole purpose is to crush people while pretending to be their friend. This was quite heartbreaking, especially since I’ve known people who have acted exactly like this character. I read through the entire book, hoping she’d finally be put in her place. (You know the feeling – if there was a way to open portals into the world of fiction, I’m sure we’d all be finding ways to protect our darlings.)
Before I’d even finished the book, I decided to bake an apple tart myself. It was convenient, too, since that day happened to be Pi Day (3/14), and I bake a pie every year because why not? I found this delicious recipe from Red Cottage Chronicle, and used this super simple, perfectly flaky pie crust recipe from Raising Arrows. I’m by no means a professional pie baker, but I did my best in trying to match the decorations to that of the illustrations at the top of each chapter in The Apple Tart Of Hope, and I think they turned out quite nicely!
I know this book is rather “old” since it’s from 2014, but I really hope you all pick it up. It’s such a fun, cute read with a lot of depth. My impulsive goal right now is to buy a bunch of editions of this book because I loved it so much! Definitely worth all five stars. ♡
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Got any YA recommendations you want to share? Tell me in the comments below!