Another 5* review, another incredible YA author who I was lucky enough to discover! I had never heard of Sarah Moore Fitzgerald before (who has one other novel- Back to Blackbrick), but I read the blurb in my press release and it was something I just HAD to read and review! The book was something I totally wasn't expecting, in the best kind of way. It was beautiful and haunting and full of things to be happy about. Sometimes the best kind of books are the ones that seem simple, but in fact unveil to reveal something a lot deeper inside. Yup, this was that kind of book.
First of all, I thought the place that the book began was really cleverly thought out- it opened with Oscar Dunleavy's prayer service in the Church, leaving the reader believing that he was already dead and allowing them to be kept in the dark until Oscar's chapter. I really enjoyed how we were allowed to see the story through Meg and Oscar's eyes, and the other characters were a delightful addition to the mix of characters Moore Fitzgerald created. Not only were they extremely likeable and relatable (except from Paloma, that is), but they were real, and honest to the reader. I felt that it was Meg and Oscar who were speaking to me, not an adult writer. The worst thing to come across in a YA novel is when it is clear that the author is trying to write as an adolescent, and try and guess what their character would say, however there is no hint of this at all in Apple Tart. The characters, particularly the protagonists, are honest, kind, smart and believable.
My favourite thing about this very special book is the fact that it starts off with a story that seems inconsequential. After reading the first page, I thought I was able to predict everything about the book. I was delighted about the fact I was proven wrong. If I'm allowed to use the incredibly clichéd metaphor about a flower opening and revealing all of the beauty and intricacy inside, then I will use it here. Once you really get into the book, you realise that the whole situation is a lot more complicated than what you originally thought. I love it how you discover through Meg's eyes what has happened while she is away, and pine for the return of Oscar as much as she does. I boiled with anger at Paloma, and wished I could reach inside the book and give Oscar a great big hug.
There are a lot of fictional characters that I have grown to love, and who I think we should look up to and learn from. Jem and Atticus Finch. Jane Eyre. Constantine from The Help. After reading Apple Tart, I strongly believe that Oscar Dunleavy could join that list. There's nothing better than a book with morals, I think. Simple, beautiful morals that could make the world a better place. That's effectively what this book is about. Doing everything in your power to spread that little bit of hope into the lives of the people around you.
I hope you have enjoyed this book review! Make sure to check out 'The Apple Tart of Hope' and 'Back to Blackbrick'! You can check out Sarah Moore Fitzgerald here
Until next time :)