Review: Madapple

Title:  Madapple

Author:  Christina Meldrum

Published:  May 13, 2008

Page Count:  416

Genre:  Young Adult Fiction

My Rating:  3/5

Aslaug is an unusual young woman. Her mother has brought her up in near isolation, teaching her about plants and nature and language—but not about life. Especially not how she came to have her own life, and who her father might be.

When Aslaug’s mother dies unexpectedly, everything changes. For Aslaug is a suspect in her mother’s death. And the more her story unravels, the more questions unfold. About the nature of Aslaug’s birth. About what she should do next.

About whether divine miracles have truly happened. And whether, when all other explanations are impossible, they might still happen this very day.

Madapple was another book about which I asked my readers to ask questions that I could answer in my review.  Here goes…

Guatami Tripathy asked, “I like the title Madapple. Why is titled so? What genre? Do you recommend it? To what age group?” The title refers to a slang term for the jimson weed, which despite being an all-natural plant that grows in the ground is a very poisonous substance that has the potential to kill if taken in large enough doses.  Jimson weed/madapple plays a pretty big role in the story, but telling you what that role is would give a lot away so I won’t!  The genre is young adult fiction, and I would recommend it but with some hesitations.  I didn’t love the book as much as I thought I would, but several other bloggers have raved about it so it quite possibly just didn’t click with me.  As for age group, I’d say age 12 or so and up would be fine to read the book.

Softdrink asked, “Do you think the cover of Madapple reflects the story? Why or why not?” Yes, I do think the cover reflects the story.  The book has the same creepy/weird vibe that the cover gives off.  In addition, the cover depicts Aslaug (well, I can only assume it’s supposed to be Aslaug) standing in a field of flowers/plants, very alone in the world.  And I think that is pretty much how she is in the book – surrounded by people sometimes, but mostly alone both physically and emotionally.

Eva asked, “I’m worried that Madapple would be a bit too sensational-istic for me. Did you find the melodrama over the top? Or did it feel authentic?” You know what, this was one of the aspects of Madapple that I liked least.  I did find it to be a bit too melodramatic.  There were just too many aspects to the book that weren’t at all believable, and not only that but the writing style put a dramatic flair on everything which I personally did not love.  I don’t know – I’m torn on this one because I think many people would get wrapped up in all the craziness and love the book because of that, but I was mostly just annoyed by it.

Trisha asked, “Of these three books (if any) which would you recommend to 1) a teenage boy, 2) an adult woman, and 3) an old couple. Why that particular book for each person/couple?” I think I would choose Madapple as my recommendation to a teenage boy because it has somewhat gender-neutral themes.  While the main character is a girl, there is enough weirdness, drama, and intrigue to interest a boy as well.  I don’t know that the book would make a favorites list of a teenage boy, but I think a guy could enjoy this one just as well as a girl.

Overall, Madapple was a bit of a disappointment for me.  I had really high expectations going into the book and I believe that probably ruined it for me.  I just didn’t care enough about an of the characters to get super involved in all of the drama.  Looking back, I did enjoy the book and I think it was written very well – it really was a compelling and interesting story.  But for me, it didn’t work perfectly.  To add to that, there were several pretty big loose ends that I’m even now thinking about and wishing I had a resolution to.  Loose ends are okay, and I can appreciate a good question for the reader to ponder, but in this case I’d just like some answers.  Maybe it’s just me – check out these other bloggers who liked Madapple more than I did:

16 thoughts on “Review: Madapple”

  1. It’s a bummer when books you have such high hopes for fall a little flat. It’s like we place so much pressure on them to be that perfect book that they can’t succeed.

    1. I know! And everyone LOVED this book so I almost had a hard time writing this review. But I’m glad I was honest. Oh, well. The next thing I read will be better. 🙂

  2. I’ve heard good things about this. I didn’t know it had such a strong focus on nature – I really love that in books and its incredibly hard to find!

    1. that’s true, Iena, it DOES have a huge focus on nature. Especially plant life and natural drugs and things like that. If you like nature, I would definitely try the book for that aspect alone. I personally found some of that stuff boring (sorry!) but someone who is already interested in plants/herbology would probably love that aspect.

  3. Thanks for answering my question! Now I can happily avoid this one in the future. 🙂 But I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you expected.

  4. Heather,
    Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone…I did not get overly excited about this one either. I was actually quite surprised at some of the awards it garnered too. Very obscure and hard to follow at times. But I did enjoy read the questions and answers for your review…that was fun!!

    1. Thanks for your input Staci! It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone in my underwhelmingness of this book. Every review I’ve read thus far has been extremely positive, and it’s made me feel very lonely. 😦

  5. Sorry you didn’t like it, but I agree with you–I really didn’t like this at all, and only one of the teens who participated in the Mock Printz awards workshop I did in the fall liked it even a little bit. I thought it was beautifully written (I would definitely try her next books), but the structure totally didn’t work for me and I got bored with the story. I think I didn’t review it, or maybe I did a mini-review. I know I didn’t want to write about it when I’d finished.

    1. Wow, thanks for your input Ali. Like I said to Staci, I’m so happy to know that I’m not the only one who didn’t love the book. I did like the writing, I agree with you there, but this particular book overall just did not work for me.

  6. i love how you used readers’ questions as constructs in your post–clever idea! sorry this book didn’t work out, but i agree that it may be hard to write a less-than-stellar review of a popular book, but you have to be true to yourself and your opinion.

  7. This book was strange! I finished reading it about 5 minutes ago, and now it is sinking in: I really liked it! I found it a little bit disturbing- not to mention confusing. It was very long and had a lot to cover. I agree with Meli though- Meldrum never says who Aslaug’s true father is. Since this topic was the center of early drama, I think it’s sort of odd not the answer the question!

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