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BAD APPLE by Laura Ruby

BAD APPLE

by Laura Ruby

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-124330-1
Publisher: HarperTeen

The student denies it. The teacher denies it. Nonetheless, it seems that everyone in Tola Riley’s high school believes that she is carrying on with her art instructor, Mr. Mymer. And now, Mr. Mymer has been suspended, and Tola, a junior, doesn’t know how to stop the rumors that are traveling through the hallways by day and in cyberspace after hours. It’s a provocative premise, and the story, which is by turns hilarious and touching, is almost heart-poundingly suspenseful, but the ending is difficult to buy, though emotionally satisfying. It’s too bad, too, that Tola’s schoolmates are so underdeveloped that they aren’t realistic. On the other hand, Tola’s family, a dysfunctional bunch coping with Tola’s situation, a remarriage and both physical and mental illness, are a sharply drawn, psychologically astute group. It’s as though Ruby drew her plot from the basket marked School and her characterizations from the one marked Family. Nonetheless, the protagonist, who is unconventional, insightful and full of angst, charms, and readers will be hoping for her success. (Fiction. 12 & up)