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The Poison Apples Paperback – January 6, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; First Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312535961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312535964
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,253,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Alice, Reena, and Molly meet at an elite boarding school in rural Massachusetts. It takes them a while to realize that they've all landed there primarily because of their wicked stepmothers, but once discovered, this fact binds them in friendship and their shared desire to exact revenge on the new women in their lives during Thanksgiving break. Because readers see them only from the girls' viewpoints, the insensitivity and self-absorption of their stepmothers are stupendously exaggerated—as is the cluelessness of their fathers. This does provide ample scope for humor, however, and allows the girls to have changes of heart as their perceptions mature a tad. Not essential, but good fun.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Archer makes a wickedly funny debut. . . . The teens’ initial misjudgments of one another fuel much of the initial comedy, while Archer’s knowing prose gives even the old-fashioned moral a hip ring.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Archer displays a sure sense of teens’ dialogue, anxieties, and, best of all, humor . . . Clever, hip, and satisfying, this will attract many readers, who will look forward to the sequels suggested at the story’s close.”—Booklist

“This pleasant read offers food for thought for even the most reluctant reader. The strength of the story lies in its realistic portrayal of teen insecurity and the need to have love and structure in a seemingly hostile world. . . . Fans of Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will enjoy this tale of feisty young women on the brink of adulthood.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

“The Poison Apple members . . . are entertaining and their hyperbolic tales of woe might be what’s most appealing to gossip-loving adolescents.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Good fun.”—School Library Journal

“[A] Funny, often poignant first novel . . . What sets the book apart from many in the boarding school genre is the underlying compassion these three retain, despite their new and uncertain circumstances. . . . Readers will hope for more from this likable trio—and this talented storyteller.”—Shelf Awareness

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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It's especially interesting for anyone who has ever been in a similar family situation.
It's been a long time since I read something that so accurately recalls what it's like to be a teenage girl.
M. E. Collins
I found Reena's story to be the funniest and most interesting, but all the characters are well portrayed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows the story of Snow White but have you ever heard of Molly Miller, Reena Paruchuri, or Alice Bingley-Beckerman? For one thing, their life is hardly a fairy-tale but everything is about to change. They just have to meet.
The Poison Apples By: Lily Archer opens with the tale of how three delightful friends Molly, Reena, and Alice end up at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts. Each chapter revolves around a father's second marriage and a stepmother who turns out to be quite horrible. The pals form a club to get revenge on their wicked stepmothers but find out that not all wrongs make a right.
This four star fictional novel is probably best suited for teenage girls who love to read about terrific friends who have to cope with major situations in their lives. The girls's loss of control over their own lives was very catastrophic. But their friendship went a long way to help when they were able to form their own little family with The Poison Apples. My favorite character was Reena Paruchuri because of her hilarious humor. (Archer, 20) "I hate yoga. I mean who wants to lie on the ground twisted up like a pretzel while some lady in velvet stirrup pants tells you to "relax"? And whenever I drive by a yoga studio (there are like ten billion here in Beverly Hills) and look through the windows there are crowds of skinny women is short-shorts, contouring themselves into freaky positions." Plus, Reena's stepmother Shanti Shruti is so insane and I think is truly bipolar. On page 112 Pradeep (Reena's brother) quotes, "So Shanti is adopting a penguin, but it needs, like, a really cold, like artic they're building and addition to the house, this, like, special terrarium or something with ice and water...and its costing Dad like a million dollars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Honig on January 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rarely have I thought this about a book: but this book needed to be longer. The first section (more than half of the book) is clever, witty, and a pleasure to read. The three main characters are distinct from one another (although all written in oddly the same voice), each situation is well-depicted, and I both laughed with and sympathized with them.

However, once the three heroines have found one another and bonded over their wicked stepmothers, the book falters badly. In Part II, the three girls' romances are much too abrupt and undeveloped; their decision to seek revenge on their stepmothers is bumpy; and the actual execution of the revenge plots is just lame. The plots take each girl back home and away from all the others, which is a structural problem in the narrative; and each has only one chapter in which to 1) fail in her revenge; and 2) see that it wasn't a good idea in the first place. This needed a lot more thought.

Still, a very promising first book. I look forward to reading more by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Lindsay on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I wish this book had been on my shelf when I was fourteen -- we need more smart books about smart girls coping with adolescence.

The book opens with the story of how each of three friends -- Molly, Reena and Alice -- ended up at a boarding school in Massachusetts. Each tale revolves around a father's second marriage, and a step-mother who turns out to be a raging terror. I might think the family dramas were overdrawn if I hadn't been personally witness to some equally terrible family collapses when my friends I were teenagers. The story of the girls' developing friendship and how they collectively cope with boarding school life and family travails remains engaging through the last page.

I can't seem to shake my continuing interest in adolescent fiction, maybe because the genre played such an important role in my own growing up. The Poison Apples validates my habit of tracking new releases...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Agnes on January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Poison Apples (quite an appetizing title, might I add) unravels the tale of three young teenagers (Alice, Molly, and Reena), all of whom suffer from a similar ailment: evil stepmother syndrome. Our story opens with a personal introduction into each girl's life at the time that their current stepmothers entered the picture.

After reading this somewhat sour but humorous glimpse into the lives of these main characters, it's not at all difficult to see what the girls are so upset about. The cruelty doled out to these young girls by the hands of their new stepmothers all under the not-so-watchful eyes of their unhelpful fathers is maddening. I would probably refer to the interactions between the daughters and their family members as stress reading, similar to the experience when watching or witnessing a character, whether by reading or on film, being horribly embarrassed and feeling sympathy for them. Much of the book, when these stepmothers were present, incited such feelings. Along with this, their fathers do an immense injustice to fathers in general. The moment the stepmothers begin to take over, it seems that all sentimental feelings between father and daughter, all understanding, all fairness, are ignored and trampled, a thing that I found quite irritating, but which I believe was overemphasized and dramatized for a greater impact on the reader (it worked). Because the situations and interactions are so dramatic, the reader can easily understand how the girls can have such a strong dislike for their stepmothers. Of course, the girls end up at an expensive boarding school, Putnam Mount McKinsey, through different means, and, in this way, they meet.

The first fourth of this book was humorous, and I was looking forward to enjoying this read.
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