Title: Madapple

Author: Christina Meldrum

Summary: This book for mature readers packs in so much intensity, mystery and drama, it is really hard to explain why exactly it is such a terrific read. Aslaug lives alone with her brutal mother in a remote cottage in Maine, home schooled in science, mythology and the medicinal properties of the herbs and plants that grow all around them. But soon, events spiral out of control: Within the year, Aslaug will meet her extended family, become pregnant, and stand trial for murder. To say more would give away too much. The book alternates from the main story to transcripts from her trial, giving you clues to the mystery that is Aslaug’s past. Is she a cold-blooded killer? Is her pregnancy miraculous – or the product of something more sinister?

You have never, ever read a book like this. While it is a murder mystery, the book draws on themes as diverse as early Christian beliefs, Nordic mythology, herbal folklore, family dynamics, and miraculous occurences to become an original, unforgettable story. It might be slow going at first, but stick with it.

Who will like this book: Mature readers who like serious, intense, challenging stories. Be advised: Madapple discusses some controversial religious and social topics.

If you like this, try this: Another read that rewards you if you stick with it is The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian