Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

The set-up: Tola is a high school student, and she’s been named the victim of an affair with her favorite teacher. She insists nothing happened, but from the start of the novel she’s established as a storyteller (ahem, liar), so can we, the readers, or they, her family, friends, and the authorities, really believe her?

Main character’s goal: All Tola really wants to do is clear her teacher’s name so he can come back to his job. She’s got some other goals, though, one involving a hottie named Seven (who is so cool he needs his own book!).

My reaction: This was a light story, feel-good at the end. I’d probably sub-categorize it as “chick-lit” (what a stupid sub-genre name), but at the same time I really liked it. I got indignant on behalf of Tola, which is a pretty good sign that I liked her. Also, I should clarify that it felt really fluffy at the beginning, but as I got further into the book, I became more invested in the story, and it felt deeper somehow.

Of interest to writers: The unreliable narrator thing must be hard – at least, it sounds like a daunting writing task to me. But Ruby pulls it off, so consider this a shining example if you ever need one.

Also: at the end of each chapter there’s a little mini-chapter of “(comments),” quotes from various characters who give their own ideas about the affair. These little quips serve to shed some light on Tola’s situation and personality. They also serve to develop some of these side characters’ personalities.

Bottom line: It’s a fast read, satisfying, and has a compelling hook. The web of stories, lies, and hearsay kept me intrigued throughout.

To visit Laura Ruby’s very pretty website, click here.


  1. Laura Ruby · January 10, 2011

    Thanks for the great review, Beth!

    • Beth Hull · January 10, 2011

      You’re welcome – it’s well-deserved!

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