Mother dies, father marries an unforgivably evil stepmother, and young daughter is stuck with a melancholy tale, waiting for her prince to save her. Sound familiar? Sound like every fairy tale in the book? Well—Poison Apples by Lily Archer is indeed like a fairy tale, but with modern setting and a delicious twist.
Three girls—Alice Bingley-Beckerman, Reena Parachuri, and Molly Miller—come into wicked stepmothers, and, one by one, are banished to a private boarding school: Putnam Mount McKinsey. There, by a mix of misunderstandings and pure chance, the three girls meet, and share their stories. Surprised at the similar horrendous fate that has befell each of them, they decide to form the Poison Apples— a secret society known to only them, committed to getting revenge upon their evil stepmothers. With prince charmings, small towns, little sisters and even a penguin or two, Poison Apples is certainly a fully packed and entertaining read.
I definitely enjoyed reading this book—for the most part, the characters were likeable and their scenarios amusing.
I liked the beginning especially, when the author was setting up each girl’s scenario. I found it well developed and interesting, with some funny insights on yoga and parents and clothes. I liked the natural way each found her path to the boarding school, but once there the book lost a bit of its spark to me. As the girls’ stories began to weave together, I found myself confused at times, but for the most part it was pretty good. I felt that the plots became a bit thinner, yes, but it was still enjoyable and funny. This was how most of the book continued—entertaining and witty, but dipping into too many sub-plots to fully commit to any of them.
The ending was the biggest fault, to me. Each girl embarked on a plan of revenge for their evil stepmothers, but the plans were weak and the execution weaker, and I felt that the ending was rather rushed.
On the whole, I identified with the three main girls very easily, I found the stepmothers deliciously evil, and I really, really liked the idea of a modern fairy tale, but at times the plot was weak and confusing.
I’d say three and a half evilistic daggers.
As a first novel, it showed a lot of potential, so I’d definitely watch for Lily Archer’s next book!
Happy that I am the evil one and not my mother,