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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: 'Madapple' by Christina Meldrum

Time/ for another review of a book I read this summer (I've been slacking on posting these; I will try to do better).
This is another of my favorites. This was nominated for many things, among them, as a finalist for the William C. Morris Award, honoring debut authors and "celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature."
So here is my Goodreads review; stick around for bonus material.

Madapple Madapple by Christina Meldrum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying that in some weird way, this book blew me away.

Madapple is the story of Aslaug Hellig, a bright girl who was raised in near isolation by her genius -- but disturbed -- mother. When Aslaug's mother dies, Aslaug goes to the only place she can remember her mother having taken her. The place, it turns out, is a former monastery-turned-church, run by an aunt she never knew she had. Aslaug moves into the church with her aunt Sara and her children, Sanne and Rune, and gets caught up in the distrubing world they have created for themselves.

Madapple mixes religion, mythology, psychology and (of all things) botany to create a very captivating and disturbing world for Aslaug to live in. Told through chapters set alternately in the present and in the past, Aslaug's story is revealed slowly and cryptically, making the book a potentially challenging read for some, but for those that can hold on to the threads and being to weave them together, the result is fairly stunning. Also, some themes and subject matter may be too adult and/or inappropriate for some readers, but for those who persevere and can handle the dark subject matter, Madapple is a strange little gem. It is little wonder that Meldrum, a first time author, was a finalist for the Morris Award.

View all my reviews >>

Bonus Material:
I'm telling ya, if you're an adult leery of reading "teen' fiction because you think it's all fluff, read this. If you're a teen looking for something unusual, read this. (If you're a teen with parents who may disapprove of adult themes, read this in secret...)

This is one of my absolute favorite covers this year. Stunning and eerie and perfect.

Find out more about the William C. Morris Award here, for which Meldrum was a finalist.
She was also nominated or awarded with:
ALA Best Book for Young Readers for 2009
Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books for 2008
Top Ten First Novels for Youth, 2008

Visit author Christina Meldrum's site here for various goodies, including a gallery of the various plant life mentioned in the book.

Read my buddy April's review here for a different perspective.


  1. Wow. Sounds very deep. Great review.

  2. Thanks. It was one of the most unusual and fascinating YA books I've read in a while. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) to get an interview with Meldrum.

  3. This book sounds really intriguing in that it sounds weird, but I'm not sure why. "A girl moves to her aunt's church when her Mum dies" - not the best sounding book in the world, but your review says something. No clue what, but yeah, I'm intrigued. I think I'd be able to cope with the back-and-forth style, as I've read some books like that before. I may just have to look this up. Cheers, Misty!


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