Bad Apple is a fun book. That is the whole of it in a sentence. It is a fun book with a jail-break and a road trip and a showdown, all delightfully interspersed with a little bit of humor for everyone. Matt Whyman has written a book that is fast-paced without feeling rushed and fun without losing track of his plot and characters that while bad, are bad in such a good way. This is a book full of unacceptable behavior that will have you laughing like an idiot in the middle of class. Just as a side note, I would not recommend reading this in a Maths class under a desk. You will get in trouble for it and may end up shipped off to a Troll settlement with all the other bad apples.
That’s the idea behind the book, Trolls are real, 99% genetically identical to humans and living underground, swapping out human kids for trolls at birth. Unfortunately, this is only revealed in those teenage years, when bad behavior comes out in full force. One DNA test later and if the Troll DNA has revealed itself, those kids are disowned and sent to a Troll settlement. I know, a pretty rough and disheartening start to a comedy, but the way Matt Whyman manages to diffuse the tension of it and introduce humor and layers to the story is what makes it such an entertaining read. Following the delightful mishaps and gloriously awful behavior from Maurice and Wretch is awesome, and with a plot so full of action and humor, it’s hard to not read all in one go.
Not only this but Bad Apple is in my mind the sort of book that anyone could read and take something away from, weather that is an entertaining story and plenty of laughs or a deeper look at the judgement found in our society. There are huge amounts of layers to this book, hiding in plain sight everywhere you turn and all of it is intellectually stimulating and deserves to be ticking over in the minds of everyone who can see it. I love this book because its one that rewards you for thinking a little harder with a serious message and a societal commentary. The great thing is though is that if you don’t take that message away it doesn’t matter! You’ve still enjoyed a shockingly good and thrilling adventure story so who cares! This book appeals to everyone in this way and that in itself is brilliant.
This is a book I think everyone could, should and would read and enjoy and if it sparks the bookish Maurice or the Bad-apple Wretch inside of you to burst forward, that’s definitely a win.
Reviewed by Michaela-Rose Tripp
As part of the Allen & Unwin YA Ambassador review team
by Matt Whyman
Published by Hot Key Books