The Poison Apples
by Lily Archer
(YP FIC ARCHER)
Three girls meet at an elite boarding school and find they have one thing in common: wicked step-mothers. The girls join forces and form the Poison Apple club as a way to regain control of their lives. What initially begins as a simple desire for revenge eventually evolves into deep friendships between the three girls.
The three girls featured in this story are each quite different, but equally entertaining: a cocky shopaholic from Los Angeles, a silent almost-Goth girl from New York, and a super-smart small town girl with a passion for the Oxford English Dictionary. The stories about how each girl "aquired" a step-mother are quite sad, ranging from the death of a mother, to mothers having nervous break downs. The step-mothers get all the blame from the girls, but it is clear that many of the problems the girls face can be attributed to the fathers, the mothers, and, even to some extent, the girls themselves. Considering that the title of the book relates to the step-mothers, the women themselves feature very little in the story. Instead the story centers on the girls. They must first learn to be friends to each other, no small task. Then, with the emotional strength gained through these new friendships, they must face and accept their new family situations.
The author could easily have gone the route of hijinx and manipulation a la Parent Trap, instead she focused on the emotional aspects of the changes in the girls lives. This was an emotionally gripping book, and days after I've finished reading, I still can't stop thinking about it.