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  • Posted November 4, 2008

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    Reviewed by Harmony for

    I finished reading MADAPPLE last night and, for the first time ever, I sat staring at the book in shock. For fifteen minutes. I was ready to laugh, to cry, and to scream in frustration. Never before have I read a book that left me feeling that way after finishing it. Sure, there have been books where I've laughed, cried, and been frustrated at different points as I read it (HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS comes to mind) -- but to experience them all at once at the end of a book? Never. <BR/><BR/>Once the shock wore off, I began wondering how I was ever going to write a review of this book. Because a book that can cause emotions like that definitely can NOT be summed up in one paragraph, no matter how long. I could say that MADAPPLE was about flowers and plants. I could also say that it's about a girl who's a prisoner in her own life. I could also say that it challenges the religion of Christianity. I could say all of those things and so many more, but none of them would be correct. Yes, MADAPPLE is about flowers and plants. It's also about being a prisoner in your own life and it's even about Christianity. But it's also about so much more than that. More than even my mind can comprehend. <BR/><BR/>But I must warn you - MADAPPLE is NOT for everyone <BR/><BR/>Told in alternating chapters of the present and of testimonies being held at Aslaug's trial, MADAPPLE challenges the reader. It informs the reader. I, myself, though not a strong Christian, know by now that most Christians are offended when their religion is challenged. MADAPPLE does that. But I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing, for it never states that Christianity is wrong, and every single character has their own opinion on it. Heck, one of them even runs a church. But what it does do is explain how the birth and story of Jesus that the Christians follow is not the first in history. I'm not going to say more on that subject in fear of giving too much away, but I'll say this - if you're a Christian who is easily offended, I wouldn't read this. If you're a Christian who can handle a reasonable amount of things, pick up the book. <BR/><BR/>My feelings about MADAPPLE changed throughout the entire book. At first, I was intrigued, then confused, and then bored. Actually, I think I was confused up until the last page and then some. Even at this moment, I can't say whether I love or hate MADAPPLE. But I'm going to say that I love it because it's left me speechless, and the only other books to have done that are my favorites. The one thing, however, this book didn't do was make my stomach hurt. The character emotions just weren't there to make my heart break. All other aspects, besides that, which I love in books were there. <BR/><BR/>So do I recommend MADAPPLE? Definitely yes! But only if you're up for a challenging read. Only if you're mature enough to handle speculations about virgin and premarital birth. Only if you're ready to be blown away, because you will be, whether it's in a good or bad way. Only you can make that decision.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    riveting and beautiful!!

    This is one of those books that can truly change you life. It is simultaneously vibrant and sad as it takes you on a journey where love is not always perfect or understood. This only maks it all th more real and keeps you fighting to hold fast to what you thought you knew only to realize that it might not have been so real after all. Beautifully written and with truthul and enigmatic characters this is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is a deep character driven young adult thriller

    After leaving the home of her sister, martinet Maren Hellig raised her daughter Aslaug for over a decade locked away from the contamination of the outside world especially her aunt and cousins. Instead she teaches her daughter that there was no man in her life even to sire her as she is a product of the divine Immaculate Conception. She teaches her to enjoy nature and books. Without knowing better, Aslaug is contented with her world until her mom abruptly dies.---------- Alone, frightened and a suspect in Maren¿s death, Aslaug moves in with her Aunt Sarah, who was estranged from her mom, and her cousins. A social misfit, Aslaug struggles to survive in her new scary world. However, when another death in the family occurs, Aslaug is arrested and put on trial for the two homicides.------------------ This is a deep character driven young adult thriller that hooks readers once they have met Maren and Aslaug with the need to know did the teen commit matricide. The story line is character driven obviously by Aslaug, but also by her extended family. Secrets slowly are revealed to a stunned audience. MADAPPLE is a deep family drama in which the seed does not fall far from the tree, but truth may not set her free.--------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Definitely an interesting read. I kind of wish there was more to

    Definitely an interesting read. I kind of wish there was more too it but I'll have to say I did enjoy it and didn't want to put it down. I guess I was waiting for something more exciting to happen at the end but I do agree that this book was a very good read if you like something different.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014


    Irl a girl (not for me dew)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Bree- SecretlyTakenByNiall


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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    keeps you guessing

    "Madapple" is Meldrum's first novel, written while she worked as a litigator. The story starts, as many do, at the beginning. Specifically, it opens twenty years before the core events of the story with a young woman named Maren--away from her Danish relatives, living alone in Maine, and pregnant. Without, Maren tells her older sister, ever having had a lover.

    Such are the origins of Aslaug, Maren's daughter and the heroine of this novel. Immediately after this revelation from her mother, the narrative shifts from 1987 to 2007 in a courtroom where reader's quickly learn that Aslaug is on trial for murder and tells the court that she has no biological father.

    These two segments largely set the tone for the rest of the novel that follows, a tone that I would call both eerie and confusing. The rest of the narrative alternates between chapters set in the courtroom in 2007 (always titled "Solomon's Seal" for a plant thought to cast away demons) and chapters beginning in 2003 and working toward the trial in 2007 (these chapters are titled for other plants that Aslaug encounters, usually with some relevance to the events of the chapter).

    Having set up the body of the story, Meldrum nows moves to what I'd call the beginning of the plot in 2003. It is here that readers begin to learn about Aslaug's life instead of just her circumstances. Home-schooled and raised by her mother in an isolated house outside of town, Aslaug has little in common with the modern world. While other fifteen-year-olds are experimenting with makeup and going to movies, Aslaug is being taught ancient languages and learning about the various properties and lore of plants found in the woods near her home.

    Completely isolated and alone except for her mother's erratic, sometimes hurtful, companionship, Aslaug is desperate for a chance to escape from her life. That opportunity comes sooner than she had expected, the result of unforeseen events which thrust Aslaug into the world she previously watched from a distance. Along the way, Aslaug finds family she never knew she had and more questions about her own life than answers.

    There is more to the plot, but to get into further specifics here is impossible without ruining the quality of surprise and shock that Meldrum incorporates into so much of this narrative. Suffice it to say, nothing in this story is as it seems.

    At first, the narrative here seemed choppy--incorporating three different time periods in as many chapters as well as many unexpected Danish words. The more I read, the more the story started to make sense. As the narrative moved forward, to the point where past and future events converge, everything began to mesh together making the writing more seamless. For that reason, I found that "Madapple" was easier to handle when I read more of it at once. The text here is dense, with a lot of references to religious texts as well as plant mechanics, which do require a bit of time to absorb.

    Aside from Meldrum's masterful prose, her characterizations were interesting. Several of the "important" characters are unlikable but still remain valuable to both readers and Aslaug. At the same time, Meldrum spends a lot of time discussing religion in the text (as can be expected from a novel about a supposed virgin birth I suppose) but it doesn't get tiresome or overly dogmatic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012


    I read this book awhile back but it's always lurking in the back of my mind. Christina is an amazing writer and the way she pieces the book together is inspiring; unique; & utterly mesmorizing. This should be a New York Times Bestselled by now. This book deserves it!

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Surreal and dark

    This book was confusing until the end. It's well written - the main character, Aslaug, is confused until the end, and the main story unfolds as she experiences it. Interspersed with her first person narrative are court scenes that offer an outsider view, contrasting modern reality with the weird world that Aslaug lives in. The contrast keeps you wondering what's real and shows how social constructs shape people's understanding of events.

    **Possible spoilers ahead** Much of the first person narrative feels surreal. Aslaug is brought up without any knowledge of society, laws, norms, etc. It's an interesting view of how different the world can be to a child that is completely isolated and indoctrinated by her mother and the rest of her family. Once reality finally clicks, it's as if she comes out of a drug-induced haze, bringing the reader out of it with her.

    Weird and dark, with issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, family abuse and dysfunction, mis-use of religion, incest, etc., it's well-written and thought-provoking after the final page. Definitely different than anything else I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012


    This book is......absolutley beautiful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Extremely Good - you should really check this book out!

    I read the book Madapple by Christina Meldrum. I thought this book was really good because it had a lot of mystery, and adventure, and it was kind of confusing because of the different language that Aslaug, Maren, Susan, Sarah, and Rune spoke and it would go from Aslaug's point of view back then and then to court sessions in the present. The story is about this 16 year old girl at the beginning. She got pregnant but told her sister Sarah that she had no lover. Then when Sarah had her kids Rune and Susan.Sarah told Rune and Susan about Aslaug Maren's daughter and Susan read the notes that Maren had took when she was pregnant with Aslaug trying to figure out how she had gotten pregnant. Susan believed that Aslaug was born of a virgin birth like Jesus was. One of the main characters was Aslaug. She played and important roll in this book because the police claimed the she is the one who killed Maren Helig (her mother). Then her cousin Runes girlfriend tried to lie to the Judge and say that Phalia (Sophie) was her daughter when really Phalia is Aslaug's daughter. Maren Helig is also another main character she is Aslaug's mother she lived with her mom up until her mom got cancer. I could relate to Aslaug in this book because she lost her mother and I know what it feels like to lose a parent because I lost my dad when I just turned 10.He died 6 days after my birthday, but when he left I had somewhere to go. I had to live with my mother. And I also know what it feels like to have to sit in a court room and have people blame you for something that you know you would never do. I absolutely loved this book because it had a lot of mystery and I never wanted to stop reading it. My favorite part in the book was when Aslaug found all of that money. At least Aslaug had money to go somewhere and get what she needs to be able to survive. My least favorite part of the book is when Aslaug's aunt Sara keeps her locked in the room at that church. And also Sara tries to kill Aslaug's baby that's really mean.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    couldn't put down!

    Loved this book, it was both intriguing and emotional. A must read.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010


    For the first time, i just can't seem to find the words to summarize or explain what this story is about because it was just... WOW. I think i can start off by saying that i am VERY SURPRISED that this book is actually a teen book because it has A LOT of MATURE content within it. There was so much going on in this book that i don't think a young teen (13-15) could understand half of the story. Madapple is not your average story. I have to admit that Christina Meldrum really put a lot of effort in writing this story because it's very different from any book that I've ever read, she did a lot of research for this book and her writing is deep.

    Madapple is a story that challenges human nature, religion and identity.The story is mainly about Aslaug on trial, accused for the death of her Mother, Aunt, and Cousin. The story also shifts time periods, it goes from the present with Aslaug in court then into Aslaug's past, with her narrating her story. In the past, the reader learns of Aslaug's life with her mother. They lived in isolation, away from people and their advance way of life. Aslaug and her mother lived in a simple matter,collecting different plants and herbs to use for many things, such as food and medicine.

    Aslaug's mother teaches her about everything. Religion, science and health are a few of the main topics that Aslaug learns from her. But there are a lot of things, ideas and questions that Aslaug doesn't fathom, such as her birth. Her mother never mentioned anything about her father, let alone that she even had a father. Her mother believed that Aslaug's birth was a virgin birth.

    It is this sub plot within the story that will definitely challenge the reader's belief if they are religious or if they are Christian. I'd like to point out that if you are either one of the two, then this book is NOT FOR YOU. You might get offended because this book really challenges the Christian Faith. I'm a Christian and i admit that i felt uncomfortable reading this book because of how it views the Christian religion.

    On a good note though, i have to give credit to the author for writing such a refreshing yet bone chilling story. Aslaug's story is shocking and tragic. You will find yourself angry, sad, curious, and confused reading this story. This is exactly why this review was a bit difficult to write because there is a lot to this story both emotionally and plot wise.

    I would recommend reading this book if you are looking for a book to pull you in the moment you start to read and if you are looking for a different kind of story to read, something that does not involve cliche's or trends within YA literature.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

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    It's unique, that's for sure.

    When I began reading "Madapple" I was immediately sucked in. I read it constantly, whenever I was able. You get a new perspective on the way she lives, why she does the things she does, why she says the things she does, and why she believes the things she does. I especially enjoyed how it switched back and forth between her story and the trial. I highly recommend this novel. When you finish this book, it won't leave much to be desired, and neatly ties up any loose ends.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Aslaug, a girl with a unique story

    Aslaug is not like the other teenagers; she grew up in isolation and knows nothing about real life, technology or what the teenagers do. She only knows what her mother teaches her about religion and ancients worlds, and especially about plants. But then her mother dies, and she is a suspect in her death None of the things she learned for her mother could help her to understand what is going to happen now. But she will found her way back to the only family she has, the only thing is that she will find more than a place to stay, she'll find just questions and more questions, not only about her, but about her mother and her father. And those questions do not have logic answers, the ones she is used to.
    Madapple is a different story about life, human nature, faith, religion and miracles. The world building is really good, and the characters are very complex, besides, the plot is interesting and original. It has a lot on information about plants, and mythology, thing I liked very much.
    The development of the story is very surprising and it will keep you thinking about what's happening. If you like books with history, religion and some mystery, this is definitely a must read.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Love, Love, LOVED This Book!

    I really enjoyed this book! I would highly recommend this book, which is something I usually refrain from doing. I will say I liked a book, but this one I thought was fantastic and I think everyone should give it a shot! I thought it was a refreshing change from what I have been reading.

    It starts out with a young Danish girl of 15 named Maren finding out the is pregnant. She swears to her sister that she has never had a lover and it will be a virgin birth.

    We are then skipped forward to the year 2003 where we learn more about Maren's daughter, Aslaug. Aslaug's upbringing is more than unusual and she is very unaware of the world around her despite her broad knowledge of ancient languages and books. She is very bright, but clueless due to being brought up in complete isolation.

    We then skip forward to the year 2007 in the next chaper and find out that Aslaug is on trial for murder.

    The book continues this way, one chapter explaining something about the past, on about the trial until finally the two merge together.

    I was really drawn in by the characters and Aslaug's innocence to the modern world. I loved the way we slowly find out about her, and her not-so-normal family. I think Aslaug's own confusion about her past and desire to know more pulls you in. You want to know more too.

    Again, I thought this was amazing!


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  • Posted December 4, 2009

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    Fantastic - A Unique Reading Experience

    Wow. I was completely blown away - by the story itself, the writing, the characters... A very deep and introspective book, with beautifully incorporated botany, theology, and mysticism. For a while near the end I was almost too afraid to keep reading. I was truly frightened for Aslaug and what would become of her - but in my opinion the ending was both graceful and well-executed, a fine conclusion after the tension of most of the novel. You're constantly wondering what will happen next, and the characters are believably flawed and unpredictable, like people in real life. This book is a little strange, both dark and compelling, but it is /definately/ worth the read.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

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    The thing that originally attracted me to this book was the cover. Look at it! So dark and mysterious...and the description only added to the appeal. It seemed like an intriguing read.
    And it was, but not exactly what I was expecting. From the way it sounded, I thought it would be further back in time, and possibly with some magic involved. Instead what I got was botany, incest, religion, philosophy, murder, and mythology. This story was very complex, with too parallel story lines really, Aslaug's life after her mother's death and Alsaug's tiral. The writing was beautiful, and while I didn't find it exactly thrilling, it was compelling. Also, very informative. I learned a lot of interesting trivia. The characters were multi-dimensional, but hardly likable. They all had their issues and it was hard to predict what they were going to do next. There were some parts that were so frustrating! I wanted to step in and yell at the characters and tell them they were stupid, or speak up for them. And those lawyers? Nobody on the stand could get a single word in before those wackjobs cut them off. I'm conflicted about my feelings for this book. Its definitely not for everyone, but I do recommend you try it.

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

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    This book was soo good. You have to read it. It is very unique, the story i mean. Not predictable at all. I didn't know what was coming at the end. And when i did read the end i felt loke i was in total shock. I never thought that was going to happen. This story is amazing. you'd have to be crazy not to read it. I wish i could give this book more than 5 stars. I'd give it 10. From the first page i got hooked into the story. I started feeling what the character's felt. Especially Aslaug. Very unforgetable and emotional book. Go get it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008


    What a wonderful, tragic and beautifully written book. I loved all of it.

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