Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Bad Apple
Merits of Mischief series, book #1
by T.R. Burns
Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)
2012
352 pages

Quirky, captivating, and comic, The Bad Apple is the first book in a planned series. Seamus Hinkle always plans to be first in the cafeteria line on Tuesdays for fish sticks; he just loves fish stick Tuesdays. When his teacher is absent, the substitute won't allow Seamus to leave the classroom early for the "bathroom." He runs to get the first fish sticks, but sadly, the school bullies pour milk over the remaining sticks. Seamus resigns himself to a salad and sits by himself in the cafeteria. Suddenly, a fight breaks out and Seamus sees the substitute teacher Miss Parsippany and feels the urge to "save" her. He grabs an apple and throws it at the bullies. Sadly, the apple catches Miss Parsippany in the head and she dies. Seamus is now a murderer!

The school kicks him out and his parents have no choice but to find him a new school, but the Kilter Academy for Troubled Youth isn't what it seems. Seamus finds out that the Kilter Academy isn't worried about rehabilitating youth at all. In fact, Kilter gives out demerits for good behavior and earning a gold star means you need to show more bad behavior.


The Academy wants to train professional troublemakers. Seamus is having a hard time fitting in. It seems every time he turns around, he earns more gold stars. This new type of school is going to take some getting used to.

While Seamus is an interesting protagonist, other characters were not as well-thought out. The novel may not appeal to many girl readers. Boys who like rebellious boy novels will like this one.

Recommended for grades 4-6. Some older students may also enjoy it, but it seems more of a younger read.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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