Review: Bad Apple by Matt Whyman

bad apple.jpgA riotous dark comedy teeming with delightfully unacceptable behaviour.

Like all good law-abiding citizens, sixteen-year-old Maurice no longer considers going off the rails as just a teenage phase. It can only mean the mark of a troll . . .

But these trolls aren’t confined to causing trouble online: now they’re in our homes, on our streets and have ruined life as we know it. As a rule Maurice tries to avoid trouble – until the day he crosses paths with Wretch, a very bad apple indeed. And with tensions rising, can these two teens put their differences aside in order to survive?

Bad Apple was an intriguing read, set in a world where rebellious actions during adolescence means that a person is a troll, a species which lives underground, and are occasionally swapped into human families like changelings. Once it is discovered that someone is a troll, they are sent to a special zone, where only trolls live, completely separate from regular people. It took me a while to work out exactly what was going on, as the book opened with the discovery of the first trolls, and then changed focus to one of the protagonists of the book, Maurice, and at that point I was still a little confused as to what exactly a troll was, but this was soon cleared up, and I very quickly got into the book.

The way the story was told reminded me very much of the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore or the Gone series by Michael Grant in the way there were several protagonists, and the third person narrative switched between them periodically. The characters were definitely a highlight of this book for me, as they were all extremely well developed and three dimensional. Their traits were distinctive, so it would’ve been easy to know who was speaking without any indication other than the words they were saying, but they seemed realistic and not over the top. This is quite a tricky balance to find, but Matt Whyman did it superbly.

I also thought the idea was really thought-provoking, and the plot was absolutely packed with twists and new events that kept me hooked on the story. The characters got into lots of tricky situations, and each time I had no idea how they were going to get out of them, but somehow they always did, with some completely unexpected method that led to more entertaining events. I’ve never read anything quite like this before, and it was a fresh idea that gave me a lot to think about. The overall message behind the story – that trolls shouldn’t be written off just because they were trolls, as they were still people with emotions, and were funny and interesting and intelligent – was a really positive one, and I thought the ending was perfect.

Overall, Bad Apple definitely isn’t my usual type of read, as normally I read about teenage girls and there is usually some sort of romance involved, even if it isn’t the main focus of the story, but I was so glad I gave this book a chance regardless! This book is one of those books that are constantly proving to me that it is completely worth trying something new with your reading and testing the waters in slightly different genres. Even if this book wouldn’t be your usual choice, I would still suggest you give it a go, as I did, and I really don’t regret it.

Bad Apple was published on the 7th of April by Hot Key Books. You can find out more on Goodreads here, or purchase a copy on Amazon here.

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