Book Review : Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

Bad Apple

Product Details:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061243302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061243301

"If I really wanted to open up, I'd confess that I really am the liar everyone believes I am."

High-school junior Tola Riley has green hair, a nose ring, an attitude problem, and a fondness for fairy tales, which are a great escape from real life. Everyone thinks she's crazy; everyone says so. Everyone except Mr. Mymer, her art teacher. He gets her paintings and lets her hang out in the art room during lonely lunch periods.

But then rumors start flying and Tola is suddenly the center of a scandal. The whole town is judging her—even her family. When Mr. Mymer is suspended for what everyone thinks is an affair, she has no choice but to break her silence. Fairy tales won't help her this time . . . so how can she tell the truth? And, more importantly, will anyone believe her?


A bad apple is often used to describe a troublesome person, coming from the quotation "one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel". It seems, to everyone, that Tola Riley is a bad apple. She has green hair, a great love for fairy tales and art, and is involved in a scandal with her art teacher, Mr. Mymer. Her whole world is turning upside down. Vicious rumors are spreading like wildfire through the school, and an anonymously-created website called is telling lies about her. As anyone could have predicted, no one believes what Tola claimed to be: that Mr. Mymer is innocent and she is not involved in an affair with him.

Tola is weird, but special in a different way - she is quirky and funny. I like the romance that is budding between Seven and her, and I wish that Laura had written more about this. Aside from her grandfather, her best friend June is the only one who is supporting her and keeping her sane throughout the whole "affair" thing. The bad girl in this story - Chelsea Patrick has an inclination towards hurting her ex-friend. She is crazily wicked, but that makes her character more realistic because there really are people like her.

I love the humour this book has offered. It made me laugh and kept me interested. In my opinion, Laura has done a good job on portraying every character in the story, mainly the artistic Tola, her supportive grandfather, and her always-depressed sister. She also included comments by Tola's classmates, school administrators, and family members at the end of each chapter to let us know about their different point of views on her unpleasant situation. However, the ending was a tad bit disappointing. I had wanted something more climatic, something more impressive.

In a nutshell, Bad Apple was a bizarre, humourous and enjoyable read. It is a story about truth, family, friendship and love. If you like reading about fairy tales with good endings, do pick this book up! :)

Rating: 8/10

Many thanks to Laura Ruby for sending me a signed copy of Bad Apple for this review! And thank you so much for your patience!

A little about Laura:
Laura Ruby writes fiction for adults, teens and children. Titles include the Edgar-nominated children's mystery LILY'S GHOSTS (2003), the ALA Quick Pick for teens GOOD GIRLS (2006), and a collection of interconnected short stories about blended families for adults, I'M NOT JULIA ROBERTS (2007). She makes her home in Chicago.

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Other books by Laura Ruby:
Play Me :: Good Girls

2 creative remarks:

Chioma ~Black and Blue Ink Reviews~ said...

Great review!!! I'm in need of a humorous book!!!

Jaime Lester said...

Your review of Bad Apple is great. When I read the synopsis, although it sounded interesting, it didn't necessarily sound like something that I would read. Your review of the story changed my mind. Humor in a book is one of the biggest draws for me, and I also like weirdly unique mains. So, thanks to your review, my horizons may have just been broadened! Thank you!