Published by Random House LLC on 2008-05-13
Genres: Law & Crime, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Social Issues, Young Adult
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THE SECRETS OF the past meet the shocks of the present.Aslaug is an unusual young woman. Her mother has brought her up in near isolation, teaching her about plants and nature and language—but not about life. Especially not how she came to have her own life, and who her father might be.When Aslaug’s mother dies unexpectedly, everything changes. For Aslaug is a suspect in her mother’s death. And the more her story unravels, the more questions unfold. About the nature of Aslaug’s birth. About what she should do next. About whether divine miracles have truly happened. And whether, when all other explanations are impossible, they might still happen this very day.Addictive, thought-provoking, and shocking, Madapple is a page-turning exploration of human nature and divine intervention—and of the darkest corners of the human soul.From the Hardcover edition.
Madapple by Christina Meldrum alternates between the narration of Aslaug, the protagonist and a court trial. Aslaug is on trial for the murder of her aunt and cousin. Madapple blends religion, science, mythology and botany.
It almost seems Meldrum is trying too hard to weave separate elements, but I think she succeeded in creating a story which left me consistently guessing. I think part of the beauty of Madapple is the revelation of the story. We don’t learn everything about Aslaug at once, it’s revealed little by little. Also Meldrum was awesome in that she did more showing then telling, and I certainly appreciate that in a book.
Meldrum’s voice is distinct. In the parts which were told through Aslaug’s eyes, it was like seeing the world through a new lens. Aslaug was raised in isolation, so clearly she’s got a different world view than us internet-denizens.
I think Madapple by Christina Meldrum was definitely a unique YA reading experience. I would not recommend Madapple for the middle-grade/younger YA set as it contains some very dark and disturbing themes. However, if you are looking for a break from the usual who-hearts-who fare, check this book out, you won’t regret it.
Other reviews of Madapple by Christina Meldrum:
The Reclusive Reader – “The themes that were integrated into the plot were done so brilliantly.”
The Nocturnal Library – “Aslaug’s story, however disgusting, is masterfully told