Kids' Books We Love
Book reviews from Youth Services

Surviving the Applewhites

  Tolan, Stephanie S.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 216
Check the availability of this title at Skokie Public Library
More information about this title.


Realistic fiction

Material Type/Location:

Youth Fiction

Reading Level:



ALA Notable Books
Best Books for Young Adults
Newbery Honor

Book Cover from Syndetics Solutions

Why I liked this title:

Jake Semple, just 13, has been expelled from a long line of boarding schools. His parents are both serving jail time and he’s angry. At the start of the story his grandfather “dumps” him at the Creative Academy where the Applewhites home school their children. Gradually he’s sucked in by this family of creative types. The precocious 4-year-old becomes his loyal tag-along. Mr. Applewhite drafts Jake to star in a local theater production of The Sound of Music. When community leaders try to shut down the production because of its unusual and diverse casting, the Applewhite family rallies with Jake at their side and successfully stages the musical in their barn. Almost against his will Jake begins to discover his own potential living with this quirky, accepting family. If you have a younger brother or sister who drives you nuts, you’ll laugh at Jake’s interactions with the Applewhite’s 4-year-old. You’ll also find yourself cheering for Jake as his “tough guy” attitude gradually thaws.

This title is also available on cassette.

Reviewed by: Susan Heist Carlton on 8/7/2008

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The Absolute Value of Mike by Erskine, Kathryn. see our review
Caddy's World by McKay, Hilary.
Listing Generated: 12/21/2014