"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?
(taken from BN.com)
I had read a few reviews of Bad Apple, on in particular from Mandy at the edge of seventeen, and I immediately knew I wanted to read it. I was so happy when Laura Ruby had agreed to send me a finished copy of the book, and she even signed it! I read this book in an entire day, I even put off writing a huge paper because I was so engrossed in Bad Apple.
To start off, Tola is accused of having an affair with her art teacher, Mr. Mymer. Except, that isn't the truth. Yet, no one believes her; her entire school goes ballistic over this "rumor" and Mr. Mymer ends up getting suspended from teaching and Tola cant do anything outside of school, her mother makes sure of that.
Tola is the average "weirdo" at her high school; she has a nose ring, green hair, and dresses with a unique sense of style. She is an "art freak." She creates paintings of what she sees in her dreams, but also from what she reads in her Grimm fairy tale book. Her family life isnt the best; her older sister Madge isnt in college because she is apparently taking a 'gap' year, but Tola later finds out that something is going on in her life as well. Her mom and dad got divorced a few years back, and her father married a woman Tola and Madge cant stand, the "evil stepmom." And her mother loves nontalking talking, they talk about things but not about the stuff that really matters. Everyone seems to be very distant from Tola, and it is quite sad. But Tola has her best friend, June, who is keeping her sane through this whole "affair problem." And there is Seven (yup, thats his name), Tola has always been intrigued by him and what percolates between them in this book is cute. Although I do wish there was more of a relationship between them, but what is said in the book with them both is fun to read.
We see the struggle Tola faces with her fellow students, mainly a girl named Chelsea Patrick. Chelsea was Tola's best friend up until a few years ago, and Tola knows that she is behind all this mess, but she wont admit that to anyone. Chelsea is a true biotch, at times you just want to go into the book and smack her in the face. And then there are others who say crude remarks to Tola about the alleged affair, and a little more than halfway through the book Tola has a pretty funny encounter with one of them. They are in the gym at her school and it involves the school jock, and a paddleball paddle...its a pretty awesome scene where Tola finally lashes back, and stops being the victim.
Laura Ruby "paints" all these amazing pictures while you read the book. Sure, Tola may be the artistic person in the book, but Ruby is behind it all. While reading this book you can picture everything that is going on, that is why it is such a good book. You can imagine everything taking place right in front of you, and who doesnt love that about a book? Bad Apple definitely does that for you.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and at times I found myself laughing out loud. And at other times, I wished I could be there for Tola, to support her in the difficult situations she has to deal with. It is a great story of a girl finally able to find her voice and speak up for herself. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read about characters finding themselves, and to those who loves a happy 'fairy tale' ending.