I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m attempting to read at least two books per month this year. I’m doing okay so far considering its early March and I’ve just finished book number 11. Book number 11 happened to be ‘Bad Apple’ by Zoje Stage. I’ve not really read much adult fiction, I prefer to stick to Young Adult but I was staying the night at my brothers and wanted something to read. After scanning the shelves of ASDA this book seemed relatively promising so I picked it up.
WARNING: This review will contain spoilers.
The basic plot of the book is that Suzette and Alex have a daughter named Hanna who puts on an innocent front for Alex but with Suzette acts differently. Suzette starts to worry that her daughter’s bad behaviour will turn into something far more sinister. Is Suzette in danger of harm from her own daughter?
I don’t even know where to start with this book. Before I bought it I gave the first page a quick read and it sounded okay but as I began reading I started to get increasingly irritated. Although the story was told in third person it flipped between the point of view of Suzette and Hanna and God this just really didn’t work. I know Hanna is supposed to be super sinister but ultimately she is still a child and her chapters didn’t seem like anything a child would think or do. Also it took away a lot of the suspense – knowing what Hanna was doing and why she was doing it didn’t leave any mystery.
Hanna is mute and at one point decides to torment her mother by finally speaking and pretending to be someone called ‘Anne-Marie’, the last woman to be accused of witchcraft in France and burnt at the stake. I feel like this would’ve been interesting but because we can read things from Hanna’s point of view we knew she was only pretending to be Anne-Marie and how she’d found out about her and everything. I don’t know. It just really didn’t work for me.
Also Alex was just fucking ridiculous. His daughter had been kicked out of three schools, cut off Suzette’s hair, MADE A FUCKING COLLAGE OF DEAD CORPSES OF WOMEN WITH A PICTURE OF HIS NAKED WIFE IN THE MIDDLE and was like “Aw my little girl is just misunderstood”. I’m surprised Suzette could stand him by the end of the book to be honest.
To be honest though Suzette started to get on my tits towards the end and I could not figure out her relationship with Hanna for the life of me. One minute she’s giving Hanna the finger, basically calling her a little shit and generally acts like she hates her – then Hanna literally tries to burn her alive and then Suzette gets seriously concerned because Hanna may have sprained her wrist? If someone literally tried to set me on fire, child or not, I would not give two shits about what happened to them. One minute Suzette couldn’t stand Hanna then the next she loved her and was willing to do anything for her; regardless of the fact Hanna literally tried to kill her twice. Her attitude kept flipping and I couldn’t keep up with it.
The book, thankfully, eventually ends and I imagine it was supposed to be all sinister and creepy but it was just stupid. I don’t even care. I hope Hanna does go home to her parents and finishes the fucking job; they’ve been so stupid throughout that they almost deserve it.
Also maybe I’m thick but I couldn’t get to grips with Suzette’s beef with her own mother? She kept making references to how her mother was really crap and I couldn’t really figure out what was going on, like at all. Maybe I’m just an idiot, I don’t know. I did skim over a lot of bits to be fair ‘cos this was a difficult read – difficult in the sense it was a bit fucking boring.
In terms of storyline, there doesn’t even really appear to be one. Hanna is trying to kill her Mom… That’s the entire basis of the book. There’s no suspense, anything… Hanna doesn’t even creep me out because she just seemed so unrealistic throughout the entire book.
The one redeeming quality was that I did finish this book quite quickly and was eager to see what happened at the end – I was disappointed with what did happen ‘cos it was a bit dull but like… Yeah.
I was hoping this book would be similar to ‘Orphan’ or ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ but it wasn’t, it was just dreary. A really dreary read.
Overall, I don’t really recommend this book because the entire plot is written on the blurb. Hanna is evil. It upsets Suzette. That’s the whole plot. Feel free to leave a comment on what you thought of the book!