Monday, April 5, 2010

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

Summary (courtesy of  Junior Tola Riley doesn’t care what people say about her. She knows her ever-changing hair color and goth clothes make her an easy target. Whatever. But the latest rumor is different.... The entire school believes she had an affair with her art teacher. The rumors may be a lie, but the fallout is all too real. Will Tola finally stand up for the truth? 

I had an opportunity to hear Laura Ruby speak last year, and I had never read her books  --- but she was so interesting, and so funny, and her books, especially this one, sounded so good, that I ordered 3 of her titles for our library.    And then I finally remembered that I wanted to read this book, so I checked it out from the library on Friday and promptly whipped through it over the weekend.

The story is pretty gripping; after all, you keep wondering if Tola's actually had something going on with her teacher or not.    At the beginning of each chapter, there are testimonial-type paragraphs from other characters in the book, as if they were giving little statements to the press.   These people include the accused art teacher, Tola's sister, and a particularly nasty girl at her school.   I thought these little statements were an interesting addition, because it's Tola telling her story throughout the book, and these statements gave insight into her from the viewpoint of other people.      

I really enjoyed Ruby's writing, which I felt was fluid and snarky (yes, sometimes at the same time) ---  Tola's a character I found compelling.   She's got a different view of the world, drawing from fairy tales and her own art to make her way through not only her school life, but her home life, as well.   I found her to be refreshing, and the kind of girl I wouldn't have minded being friends with when I was in high school.  She's sensitive, but sarcastic --- example:  "We sit down at the table.  For our Thanksgiving dinner, we are serving the dessicated monster turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green-bean casserole, cranberries from a can, biscuits from a can, and barely suppressed rage."     I love that last part.

So the question is..... whether you like Tola or not, did she actually fool around with the art teacher?  I'm not telling .....    pick this book up and find out for yourself!   


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