Will anyone take on Jake Semple?
Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state.
Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D.--a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the unruly Jake.
Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze . . . but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?
What I thought:
I liked it. Though not the kind of book I usually reach for, Surviving the Applewhites kept my attention and made me laugh. Sometimes when an author attempts quirky, she just doesn't reach it and arrives instead at cheezy, but Tolan does a great job at achieving her aim: quirky and endearing.
Jake is a delinquent one stop away from Juvenile Hall, but staying with the Applewhites turns him around. The only thing I didn't like was that none of the characters make an actual choice to either help Jake or be helped. Everything that happens, every bit of growth you see in the characters, just happens by accident because the Applewhites are so oblvious. And I guess you can't have oblivious characters and still expect them to make a plan of action and follow it through to completion. The Applewhites don't hate Jake like everyone else, but they don't really like him either, or even learn to like him.
Still, despite that, I enjoyed the book and think most of the readers of this blog would too.