Title: The Apple Tart of Hope
Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Published: February 1st 2015 (originally June 5th 2014)
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 209 pages
Source: Purchased from Waterstones
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope. The second sensational novel from Irish author, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, following her debut, BACK TO BLACKBRICK, perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Siobhan Dowd.
I picked this one up as an impulse buy and didn’t have any clue what it was about. I hadn’t even heard anything about it around the blogosphere, so it was a complete mystery to me and it turned out to be such a beautiful story.
Oscar Dunleavy has a big heart and loves to take care of others with his home-made apple tarts. It’s as if he has a gift for knowing exactly what someone wants and needs and he can fill that gap with his tarts. His best friend, Meg, has lived next door their whole lives but she had to move and suddenly there’s a new girl at the window opposite his and trying to squeeze into his life. Meg tries not to be jealous, but she can’t help it. When Oscar goes missing, Meg can’t help but feel put out when everyone assumes that this new girl in his life was his best friend and suddenly it’s her that’s speaking at memorial events and such, not Meg. The only person, other than Meg, who still believes that Oscar is alive, is his little brother Stevie and soon, the pair find themselves trying to piece together the last moments of Oscar’s known whereabouts in order to find him and bring him home.
There were so many layers to this story that I lost myself in it completely. It’s not just about the beautiful boy who makes perfect pies and looks after everyone, it’s also about his secret struggles and how hopeless he really feels. It’s not just about the girl he loves but can’t admit to, how hopeless she feels when she can’t see him all the time like she used to. It’s about secrets, love, and friendship that builds up and heals the cracks that had appeared in their lives.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I flew through it. It’s such a unique tale with some heavy topics. It opens peoples’ eyes to the fact that the happiest and most perfect looking person could be hurting underneath and just trying not to let it show. I think it was fantastically written, sensitively explored, and wonderfully executed.
I would definitely recommend this to others, it was a beautiful and magical tale that flew by.
About the Author
Sarah Moore Fitzgerald was born in New York, grew up in Dublin and lives in Limerick where she works as an academic. As a young child and in early adulthood, she wrote fiction constantly, furtively and under cover of darkness. Eventually, she came out as an author with the completion of her first novel, ‘Back to Blackbrick’. Her second novel, ‘The Apple Tart of Hope’ is due out next summer. She’s a keen cyclist, a reluctant runner, and an avid reader. She is married with three children.
*Picture and biography from Goodreads