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The Apple Tart of Hope

Review

The Apple Tart of Hope

From Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, the author of BLACK TO BLACKBRICK, comes THE APPLE TART OF HOPE, an endearing story of first love and friendship.
 
Fourteen-year-old baker Oscar Dunleavy and unadventurous Meg are best friends and next-door neighbors. They communicate through knocking on each other’s windows and sneaking out to meet at the fence that divides their yard. When Meg’s family plans a vacation to New Zealand, Oscar is the one who convinces her to try out a new adventure and go.
 
"THE APPLE TART OF HOPE would be a great summer read for anyone. It’s a nice, light read that can be carried anywhere. It also helps that the cover is to die for."
Things take a turn for the worse when the beautiful Paloma Killealy and her family rent Meg’s house while they are in New Zealand. Without his best friend by his side, terrible rumors start to spread around school about Oscar. After receiving a letter from Meg that he wasn’t really supposed to read, a strain is put on his and Meg’s friendship.
 
After coming home from the beach with her friends, Meg hears the awful news that Oscar Dunleavy’s misshapen bike and soggy shoes were found at the sea outside the pier. The boy who baked apple tarts to give people hope is missing and presumed dead. Motivated by Oscar’s little brother, who refuses to believe that Oscar is really dead, Meg is determined to figure out what happened in the six months she was gone and what awful thing pressured her friend into suicide.
 
THE APPLE TART OF HOPE is a quick little read that I really enjoyed. Although I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, I empathized with Meg. Firstly, she has to move away from her best friend and take a trip she doesn’t want to go on. Then he starts to become best friends with a girl who moves into her house, so it seems as if he is trying to replace her. Lastly, she feels that her best friend’s “death” is her fault because she stopped emailing and updating him on New Zealand life. If Meg were real I’d want to be her friend; she just seems like a nice, genuine person.
 
One thing I found odd about this book was how the characters spoke. The adults I understand, but Oscar, Meg, Paloma and their classmates spoke in a manner I found too prim and proper. I don’t know if that’s just the author’s writing style or if that’s actually how teens talk in Ireland, but I’m not letting that get in the way of my opinion of this novel. The author does, however, have a unique writing style that varies from telling the story in the present to telling it in the past. Not all authors can make this work without confusing the reader, but Sarah Moore Fitzgerald successfully keeps both timelines separate and clear.
 
Although this book ended with a few loose ends, I really enjoyed the reunion between Meg and Oscar. THE APPLE TART OF HOPE would be a great summer read for anyone. It’s a nice, light read that can be carried anywhere. It also helps that the cover is to die for.

Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board Member on April 6, 2016

The Apple Tart of Hope
by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald