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The Poison Apples Hardcover – September 18, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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.


Praise for The Poison Apples:
" Archer makes a wickedly funny debut...Alternating among their perspectives with considerable wit... 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
"...friendship forms the core of Archer’s tender, funny debut novel... Writing in the alternating voices of the three girls, 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....Archer smoothly alternates the point of view among the three girls, offering insight into how their different personalities cope with hardship. Fans of Ann Brashare’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will enjoy this tale of feisty young women on the brink of adulthood."--VOYA
"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
"...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
"The Poison Apples is Lily Archer’s first novel and it’s a very good riff on how much good friends can save you when everything else goes to hell. It’s also very funny and one of those pitch perfect reads for sharing with many girlfriends (whether they have stepmonsters of their own or not)."--Bookslut
"There definitely seems to be sequel potential for this book and dare I say it might be even as big as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."--The YA YA YAs (blog)
"...debut novelist Lily Archer handles the contemporary issues faced by families with delightfully wicked humor and a heartfelt exploration of love, friendship, forgiveness, and the true meaning of 'family.' Middle grade and teenage girls from around the country will laugh at and identify with the themes of this novel and the adventures of three unique main characters."--Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367626
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 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.
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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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Format: Hardcover
This was a mildly cute story, loosely inspired by classic fairytales, about a group of teenage girls who all meet at a boarding school -- it seems like they were sent to this school because the parents thought it would "make things easier" for everyone -- and bond over sharing their "evil stepmother" stories. All their fathers have remarried, mostly to women that the girls point out are barely older than them. Some of the biological mothers have been lost through death, others through divorce after the fathers have their mid-life crises. The girls decide to form a group/club called The Poison Apples, where they hash out ideas on how to take down these evil stepmothers.

This book had its cute points but the plot wasn't all that. The stepmothers, as a whole, didn't seem THAT evil, though there were a few moments here and there of catty remarks & manipulation from the stepmothers to the stepdaughters that made me think okay, that was a little mean. The "take down" plotting element actually doesn't play a huge part in the story, it's mostly about the girls just building their friendships with each other.

A couple parts of the story got just a hint darker than I was expecting (for example, one parent checks themself into a mental hospital, which understandably really affects the child; also, fifteen-sixteen year olds bemoaning the fact that they don't have more sexual experience weirded me out a bit) but for the most part the tone is in that light, fast-paced, almost hyper voice that you find in many YA books. Personally, if I read too many books in that style in one stretch it drives me batty but I'm guessing it'll appeal to young teens or tweens. I did like that the storyline brings up important topics for today's world such as cultural diversity, effects of divorce on children, and how to successfully blend families after parents remarry. Also, there's the important message of revenge not always being as satisfying as you'd think.
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