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Review Bad Apple by Barbara Morgenroth

Bad Apple
Publication: Dashing Books/ 2010
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Purchased
Look for this at Amazon / Goodreads
Visit the author: blog

When 15 year old Neal Marchal finds her neighbor murdered, she knows who did it. The why is the secret the family has been keeping forever. While Paul took an interest in Neal’s musical education and taught her how to play the fiddle, he took her fatherless stepbrother, Joe, under his wing and all that implies. Joe’s rage has always been barely beneath the surface and years ago, he pushed Neal under a tractor as a warning. The reminder to never reveal the secret is her limp.

While Joe was gone for five years, Neal made music a private and central part of her life. Now she has an opportunity to sing and perform but the threat remains even if Joe is a thousand miles away. Neal finds refuge in the family of the young man who wants her to join his band. It’s like a dream to live with people who love each other. Neal blossoms. She has everything to live for—music, performing and a growing affection for the young man who pulled her to safety.

Then Joe comes home. Neal knows it’s just a matter of time because she told. Joe’s going to finish what he started 8 years ago. But this time Neal vows the outcome will be different.

     I can’t remember when I found this book but since I found it has been sitting on my reader. Well, some days ago I decided to give it a try and what a nice surprise to find how much I liked reading Bad Apple. Bad Apple is the story of a girl, Neal who has learned to make herself invisible for the sake of self-preservation. She ended in a dysfunctional family that took everything from her. This cycle ends when she gets to know a boy, Truly who is a music genius and his family offers something completely different to her.

     Truly and Neal are an interesting pair. We can see how they find each other thru music. They communicate with songs continuously and without the music Bad Apple wouldn’t be the same. Barbara Morgenroth intertwined lyrics neatly in the narrative. Music made this book refreshing to me even though it discusses the impact a dysfunctional family has had in the life of the characters in the story. When Neal and Truly get together to make music, Neal’s life changes. She finds stability for the first time and it is good to see her becoming a new person.

     Bad Apple offers me many things that can be highlighted to support why this book is worth reading. So, here is my list of things that make this book a must read:
  • Smart character building.
  • Interesting setting and chain of events.
  • Musical element is well used. Makes the characters approachable.
  • Narrative is fluid.
  • Couldn’t stop reading.
     I see opportunities for improvement as well. I cannot marry two things with the story in Bad Apple: 
  • Title and cover
  • The ending
     The story just stopped! Then the book gives a preview of Chapter 1 of Burning Daylight (Bad Apple #2) which to me should have been the last chapter of the first book. It doesn’t make sense as the beginning of the second book when the ending of the first one is lacking the cohesiveness that chapter could have brought to Bad Apple.

     This is one of my favorite parts of this book. Look for this title and let me know which part made an impression:
“To make a sound was to be visible. To be visible was to become a target. I learned how to stay in the background, to fade away, to recede so they wouldn’t prey upon me when I had no way to defend myself.”
Bad Apple / Location 809 of 3001/ Barbara Morgenroth

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