Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Review: 'The Apple Tart of Hope' by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

'The Apple Tart of Hope' follows the friendship between Meg and Oscar. When Meg's life is suddenly turned upside down and she has to move to New Zealand for 6 months, her and Oscar promise one another that nothing will have changed when she returns. However, certain circumstances drive them apart and one day Meg gets a call saying that Oscar has gone missing and is presumed dead. Returning home to Ireland as soon as possible Meg begins the journey of piecing together the mystery of Oscar's disappearance with the help of Oscar's younger brother Stevie who is the only other person who hasn't given up hope. There's also a fab recipe for Apple Tarts! 

When I started this book I had no idea if it was my cup of tea. To me, this book was simply a pretty book that had caught my eye in my local charity shop - I knew nothing of it other than what the short blurb offered me. For this reason I must say - because I had no expectations - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. 

THE PLOT: The plot line of this story was actually very interesting. Like I said, I wasn't really expecting much from this book so I was really very pleasantly surprised by the story. The mystery of Oscar's disappearance hooked me in almost immediately and I was so desperate to find out what had happened to him. Although the plot never had me in tears - which it could have done if written differently - I found myself becoming angry at the villain of the story and urging our heroes on when it felt like all hope had been lost. Overall, the story is a very good one and actually very relatable. 

THE CHARACTERS: Meg and Oscar's friendship was adorable and very easy to relate to if you have a friend who you have known since you were tiny. I especially loved Oscar's character because although he was this magical person who made everyone happy you realised he worked so hard to make others happy because he himself was so miserable sometimes; he was so human which was fantastic as sometimes fictional characters can be portrayed as too perfect and untouched by the events of their lives. I found Meg to be very admirable, I don't think, under the circumstances, I could have held out hope the way that she did. The villain of this story was very well written. She had no evil powers or anything like that but she was so like so many of the nasty people we meet in everyday life. I'm sure that everyone in this world has come across a person like her in their lifetime. The characters were very well written, so much so that they could have been real people. 

THE WRITING STYLE: The writing style of this book is very simplistic, and because this is such a short book, this means that you can read it very quickly (I read it in well under 24 hours). Although this is a good thing in some ways it's also a bad thing. I felt at times that the writing was too simplistic and didn't delve deep enough into the complicated emotions that the characters must have been feeling. As mentioned in the plot section of this review, there were points in the story where I easily could have cried at the turn the tale had taken but due to the simplicity of the writing and the way in which it only scratched the surface of the emotions there wasn't actually enough of an emotional connection to the book for me to do this. Overall, the writing style is probably what brought down this book's rating for me because due to the style of writing I wasn't able to fully emotionally connect to the characters and what was happening to them - however, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable book and should not be put aside for this reason. 

EMOTIONS: As previously mentioned I couldn't fully connect to this book enough to cry but that doesn't mean it didn't give me the feels! I so desperately wanted everything to work out for Meg and Oscar (NOTE: THEY'RE ONLY 14 SO IT'S ONLY A LITTLE ROMANCE), the friendship they have is so precious that you're pulling your hair out that neither of them realise they've been manipulated by an evil little witch! The emotion that was strongest for me when reading this was anger and frustration at the manipulations of the villain; I think it's because I've had people in my life who seem like they're friends with me and it turns out they were doing everything in their power to destroy me. She was such a REAL villain that I couldn't help myself but to hate her and what she was doing; I found myself waiting on the edge of my seat for her to get her comeuppance. 

ENDING: In some ways I liked the ending but in other ways I didn't. You got to see everything that you would expect to see but it also felt very half-hearted. In this way I mean that the last chapter felt a little bit rushed in some ways. I wasn't satisfied with how it ended with the villain but all the other loose ends were tied satisfyingly. Overall a decent ending but not a fantastic one. 

I would definitely suggest giving this book a read if it sounds like your type of thing - or even if it doesn't! It certainly isn't my usual type of book but I did enjoy reading it! 

Rating: 4/5 stars 

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