Novel: Surviving the Applewhites
Author: Stephanie S. Tolan
Target Audience: 10 and up
Genre: Realistic fiction
Publication Year: 2002
Setting: Creative Academy in rural North Carolina; contemporary
A Favorite Quote: “He had been feeling rejected. Artists were tricky enough to handle when their work was going extremely well. Rejected artists could be downright dangerous.”
My One Sentence Summary: After being kicked out of the public school system, Jake Semple is sent to Creative Academy, the Applewhite’s home school, where he clashes with (and eventually befriends) E.D., the only “rational” person in a family of temperamental and exuberant artists.
What I loved about this book: This story is humorous and entertaining. The Applewhites are completely different from any family main character Jake Semple has ever experienced before—they are emotional, creative, loving, and vivacious. E.D. is the one exception, and I enjoyed the contrast between serious E.D. and her comparatively flighty parents. I loved the rural setting, the free-spirited self-expression of the Applewhite family, and the dual perspectives of E.D. and Jake.
Themes: Finding yourself; using your gifts and talents where needed; the value of each person’s individual abilities
Who should read this book: This is a good book for readers who enjoy realistic fiction, humor, and quirky characters.
Applewhites at Wit’s End