Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Release Spotlight: The Poison Apples

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer

A new twist on an old story, Lily Archer takes on evil stepmothers in her young adult novel, The Poison Apples. The story centers around three modern-day teenagers, Alice, Molly, and Reena, and their individual experiences with their not-so-fairy-tale “evil” stepmothers. Each girl has her own perspective, her own voice, her own story, but all three are brought to the same place by common circumstances—at Putnam Mount Mckinsey, a boarding school in rural Massachusetts, each seeking refuge from the stepmother currently invading her life. While at boarding school, the three girls meet and create an exclusive club called The Poison Apples. Admittance to the club requires two things—that you have an evil stepmother and that you want to get rid of her. The girls’ club membership consists of plotting ways to retrieve control of their lives from their stepmothers’ evil clutches and conspiring to kick those evil stepmothers right to the curb.

Though the story is told from three different perspectives, Archer makes the plot easy to follow, and transitions from one character to another are clean and clear. Archer did an amazing job of giving each of the three main characters a unique voice and personality, making movement from chapter to chapter smooth, but also providing great interest in the plot. And each girl has her own distinctive life experiences: Molly’s the slightly nerdy bookworm who has trouble fitting in, but is always true to herself; Reena’s the affluent Indian teen who immediately fits in with the popular crowd, but still finds herself feeling alone; and Alice is the loner who wants to live her life out loud, but is afraid of attracting too much attention—in her family and at school. All in all, Archer has created three strong, yet individual characters, ensuring that a variety of girls will be able to relate to the book and the stories it presents.

My favorite part about the book was the ending—which I will not spoil—that was filled with fun escapades as each girl tried to rid herself of her evil stepmother and as each ends up learning about life and a bit about what it means to be human, in the process. The girls also make the ultimate discovery—that real-life evil stepmothers are not always completely evil—even they have flaws, such as moments of kindness and compassion.

And if you are a stepmother reading this review, and feel that Lily Archer may be giving you a bad rap—be sure to read the prologue, as not all stepmothers are included in this book—only the truly evil are portrayed!

All in all, a truly innovative, modern take on a century-old plotline—a contemporary fairy tale for today’s teens.

Review by Katrina Hill, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 0312367627
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: September 2007
Hardcover, $16.95


  1. Anonymous4:28 PM

    <3 Well, in my opinion the book was awesome! It could have been longer but, i really enjoyed it. I'm choosing it for my book talk this month...wish me luck :D

  2. Good luck! Where's your book talk? Are guests allowed?