Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Poison Apples By: Lily Archer Book Review
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...
Published on January 28, 2008

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading...
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...
Published on January 11, 2011 by Agnes


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Poison Apples By: Lily Archer Book Review, January 28, 2008
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Poison Apples (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 environment...so 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." I cannot in reality imagine someone wanting to buy a penguin out of the blue! I have to say that the book was a little confusing at times because each chapter focuses on one-girl and switches viewpoints at bit. The ending is truly magical when the girl's accept the saying "two wrongs don't make a right". Lily Archer's vastly engaging novel makes the reader want to scream out loud for a sequel to answer many unknown questions after reading. And who wouldn't after some romance, heartbreak, and plenty of laughter in The Poison Apples!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading..., January 11, 2011
This review is from: The Poison Apples (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. However, later I felt quite misled by the title of the book and by the plot synopsis. The title, The Poison Apples, is most definitely a reference to Snow White and fairy tales in general. Not only this but every plot synopsis I have read for this book mentions fairy tales and the tackling of such an issue of evil stepmothers just oozes of the whole essence of what leads to most fairy tale dilemmas. Even the cover (which goes with the title) has a woman's hand holding what appears to be a poison apple out to a young girl about the age of the main characters in this book. So, going in, do I think that I was being unfair to expect this book to be somewhat like a contemporary fairy tale? Not at all. Unfortunately, all fairy tale similarities end with the evil stepmothers. In fact, let me debunk any lasting misconceptions (the product of a misleading synopsis and title - and I'm coming back to the title) and tell it like it really is: this story is a contemporary teen tale, period. It is not a fairy tale, by any means. This left me disappointed, but I could have been satisfied with a nice reading experience, which, as it turns out, this did not provide.

The misconceptions do not end with fairy tale connotations. I also felt misled as to the depth of the relationship that these girls shared with one another. Misunderstandings and childish behavior abound in this tale, and such things lead to these girls continually snubbing one another, having petty (annoying), plot-slowing fights, and...after all this, their eventual making up feels absolutely superficial. Out of the three girls, Reena Paruchuri is the most unlikable. She makes several rude comments that seem hateful, stupid, and immature to her friend (something that does happen in real life, but this happens all too often with this character), develops an inappropriate crush (which leads to a bad decision), and this entire situation was not something I enjoyed or even wanted to hear about. She also smoked just to look cool, something that is the epitome of unintelligence. It only made me dislike her more. Any rapport between this character and the others felt thread-thin, which is almost funny because it seems that their shabby excuse for friendship was held together by nothing more than a club called the Poison Apples.

See, I said I'd get back to that title. That's right: they call themselves the Poison Apples, and their mission is to exact revenge on their stepmothers. Another very misleading point: this actually does not come into play until the reader is nearly through with the story, even though the plot synopsis makes it seem as though it is a major part of the plot. Most things promised in the plot synopsis are deceptive. So, basically, the title, The Poison Apples (which is a good title, but is one more thing to add to a list that misleads the reader), is merely there to attract the reader (and allude to a club that is hardly relevant to the story), and the plot teaser is just there to tell you what happens at the almost-very end. This isn't like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants where the title has everything to do with the book. In this case, the club is kind of an afterthought thrown in at the last minute. So, let me make a new plot synopsis for any curious readers out there: Three girls, all with a new addition to the family, an evil stepmother, are sent off to an elite boarding school where they experience some ups and downs, more downs due to numerous misunderstandings. Later (in some cases, much later), they meet and find that they have something in common.

Even this is not a satisfactory plot synopsis because, guess what?-The girls don't really even meet until almost the middle of the book. How can a strong friendship be established, and how can the book's central plot be about friendship if this is so? This book's major plot is basically misunderstandings and bad behavior. The humor present in the first few chapters quickly vanishes, only to be replaced by some nearly plot less pages full of these characters stepping all over one another and having one too many misunderstandings.

It probably sounds like I really disliked this book, and I have no problem whatsoever admitting that this is true. I do not recommend this book, and I forgot to mention that this also has some inappropriate talk about sex (which seems to be condoned...even though none of the main characters ever do this) as well as some unsuitable behavior of the main characters (smoking to look cool, etc.) and language, so it is not something younger readers should pick up. Reading this book is a waste of time. It has a go-nowhere plot, the Poison Apple club leads to a nothing ending that's tied up so fast I was a little stunned (I'll be honest, the end's a complete cop-out), and the friendship has nothing to do with any friendship I would ever even want to be involved in.

I strongly suggest passing this one up and saving yourself some wasted time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, January 16, 2008
By 
This review is from: The Poison Apples (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smart, funny and right-on, September 20, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Poison Apples (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...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Inside the heads of three teenage girls..., October 8, 2007
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Hardcover)
It's been a long time since I read something that so accurately recalls what it's like to be a teenage girl. Feeling out of place, growing up, taking on challenges, making friends - these are all themes explored in The Poison Apples. The book is a heartfelt story about three girls struggling to find themselves while they take their first steps outside the bosom of their once secure families. The girls eventually find each other and are able to rely on one another for support, as their families collapse around them. The book is wonderfully realistic, and each character is fully fleshed out and utterly believable. Like the best of teenage tales - I cringed and smiled as I read along, identifying with the protagonists. I look forward to future works from Ms. Archer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poison Apples, September 18, 2007
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Hardcover)
This is the story of three girls who form a club to get revenge on their respective stepmothers. The girls are all from different places and have diverse backgrounds. My favorite character was Reena Paruchuri, a 15-year-old Indian girl whose father has left her mother to marry a 25-year-old yoga instructor. There's actually really interesting stuff in here about how Western culture has co-opted some aspects of South Asian culture. But mostly it's just a really fun, funny read, and although at first the stepmother seem like monsters, by the end of the book they, and everyone else in it, are humanized.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Great until the end, March 19, 2011
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Paperback)
Who doesn't love a good story about teenagers overcoming the wicked evil stepmothers of the world? I mean, fairytales tell us that it is our favorite story plot ever! Why not set it in modern times and have the heroines all meet up at a fabulous boarding school?!? That is just what Lily Archer did in her fabulous book The Poison Apples.

Now I have to confess from the start that I have an unhealthy obsession with boarding schools. I love the very idea of boarding schools. I want to send my future kids to boarding schools. I wanted to attend a boarding school, even after my brief unsuccessful stint in boarding school, I wanted to go to another one. I was convinced that my disappointment was entirely due to the fact that I was at a Christian Boarding School.

On to the actual book... Three girls suffer the misfortune of having their fathers marry truly evil women. Alice's stepmom is a famous Broadway actress who is a total bitch to her. Reena's stepmom (Reena is an Indian-American) is a white chick who is more Indian then anyone in Reena's family. Molly's stepmom has twin girls that she want Molly to stay home and take care of, instead of attending the boarding school where she has a full scholarship and a stipend. Here are the thoughts on each of the cases...

Alice - R. (her stepmom) goes on crazy psycho mood when Alice voices some hesitations she has concerning the fact that her dad got engaged after only three months of dating. The dad just expects her to accept it, like nothing is wrong. And then, to make matters worse, when R is acting her most immature (not talking to Alice), she gets the father to send her to sell their house that she grew up in and move into R's apartment that doesn't have a bedroom for Alice.

Reena - Her father proceeds to leave her mom (via email) and immediately marries this psychoatic yoga instructor who thinks she is Indian. The father proceeds to inform his children that the divorce will get messy and they should go to boarding school on the opposite side of the country rather then be around for this. He then proceeds to give in to his new wifes every whim ignoring the needs and wants of his children. He also cuts off his ex-wife even though she put him through medical school. She is forced to sell many of her possession and to live with her sister, meanwhile the father spends millions on the new decorations for the house and building a habitat for the penguin that she just had to have. And the worst part is that every time the older brother starts to complain to the father, he gets angry and threatens them.

Molly - Molly's father divorces her mother and marries his other lady almost immediately. The mother, shortly after the divorce, realizes that she can't deal with all of it and so she selfishly decides to check herself into a mental hospital and not have contact with her children. This is shocking considering the fact that Molly tells the readers that her parents fight all the time, almost without ceasing. Then Molly's stepmom really lays on the guilt about Molly attending the boarding school when she should be at home taking care of the children and helping around the house. The stepmom is so bad that Alice runs away from the house and has no contact with her family for a month. In addition, no one even tells her when her mother moves away.

All together, I was left wondering how parents could honestly be that selfish. It is like, in all of these cases, when the father found someone else, the child ceased to exist. I know if my parents ever got a divorce, my sisters and I would still be top priority, not relegated to the side. I feel like all of the main characters (Molly, Reena, and Alice) all blame everything on the stepmothers when just as much, if not more, blame could be placed on the father's shoulders. I mean, they are the biological parent and they should be watching out for their kids. They should never allow every whim of the stepmom to take precedence over the happiness of the children. I am not saying that the children should get the run of the house, but to not even let them express their opinion (Reena), or force them to be the unpaid help (Molly), or sit by and watch them get humiliated and verbally abused time and time again by the stepmom (Alice) is just wrong of the father.

And then there is the issue of the end of the book... if the ending had not happened the way it had, I probably would have given this book a 4.5/5 stars, but unfortunately, it is down to 3-3.5 (leaning towards the 3). In the last thirty pages, all of the evil stepmothers have an abrupt 180 (except Reena's stepmom) and they are totally nice and their for their stepdaughter despite the fact that they had been hideous monsters the whole rest of the book. It was just too unbelievably nauseating. By the time it got to the end story for the third girl I was like "Gosh, I don't even want to know what cheesefest is about to take place." Now I like happy endings. I like everything to end perfectly and stuff, but this was not that. It might have been an acceptable ending if it had stretched out longer and slower over another 100-200 pages. It just came out of the blue and I was not willing to accept it. Plus the revelation that the enemy of the group was going through a hard time at home (shocker) and that they should becomes friends with her was too much. I couldn't handle it. It might make me a bad person, but if the person who had been making my life a living hell the past semester at school admitted to me that she was going through a rough time, I would feel sad for her but I would not let it be my problem.

All in all, this book up to last 50 pages gets a 4.5/5 stars... but with the last 50 pages, it is dragged down to a awful 3.25/5 stars. In the future, when I re-read this book, I will skip the last 50 pages and make up a new ending in my head. Maybe I will write it down, print it out and paste it into the book...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, May 13, 2010
By 
octobercountry (the Land of Trees and Heroes) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Paperback)
Very slight spoilers below:

I had the feeling that I would really enjoy this book after reading the first few pages, and for the most part that was true as the story unfolded. I found Reena's story to be the funniest and most interesting, but all the characters are well portrayed. I would disagree with the review above that says the stepmothers' actions are wildly exaggerated; it all seemed perfectly realistic to me.

In the end, however, the story fell a bit flat for me--- perhaps because I was expecting more of the plot to be about the Poison Apples Club itself, and the activities of the group. And (vindictive as I am---heh) I really wanted to see the parents get more of a comeuppance by the end of the novel. There were some instances of shockingly poor judgement displayed by the various adults in the tale, and basically they all get off scot-free. Oh, the reader does get the impression that later some of the adult characters may end up reaping what they've sown, but I definitely wanted to see some of this spelled out in the text!

Yes, yes, I know---the book does take the high road by basically imparting the moral that "lousy things are going to happen to you in life; best not to dwell on them and just get on with things." But the fathers in this story act like IDIOTS, and I wouldn't have minded a bit of good old fashioned revenge. Heh, heh, heh... that says a lot about my character, doesn't it...

So, not quite a rave review from me---I think the book does lose its focus about half-way through. But I'll still recommend this one; not bad. And I wouldn't mind reading more about these characters, though I have no idea if any more novels are planned. In fact, I was able to discover very little about the author at all; unlike most new writers, she doesn't appear to have any sort of web presence. (I did find a MySpace page, but she has not logged in to that for over two years.)

I'm not crazy about the dust jacket design, but it does work well enough for the story and at least is a bit different than the usual "photograph of a gorgeous model" style of artwork used on most YA novels at present.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading, May 25, 2014
By 
Debs (los angeles) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Paperback)
This was an enjoyable read. The characters are interesting and funny, though immature at times. It's especially interesting for anyone who has ever been in a similar family situation. I'd recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic!, August 25, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Poison Apples (Paperback)
I thought this book was amazing it took me about 4 days to finish. you should totally buy it for summer reading I'm 14 and I enjoyed it and it was really funny!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Poison Apples
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer (Paperback - January 6, 2009)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.