Surviving the Applewhites

Surviving the Applewhites

by Stephanie S. Tolan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064410441
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Applewhites , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 64,098
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.48(d)
Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Stephanie S. Tolan is the author of more than twenty-five books for young readers, including Listen!, which won the Christopher Award and the Henry Bergh ASPCA Award. Her New York Times bestselling novel Surviving the Applewhites received a Newbery Honor and was named a Smithsonian Notable Children’s Book, a School Library Journal Best Book for Children, an ALA Booklist Editor’s Choice, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Tolan has left her home by the small lake in a big woods of North Carolina and now lives in the Hudson River Valley of upstate New York with a view of the Catskills Mountains and the prospect of wintertime cross country skiing. You can visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"My name is not Edie. It's E.D. E period, D period."

"What kind of a name is that?"

The boy slouching against the porch railing had scarlet spiked hair, a silver ring through one dark brown eyebrow, and too many earrings to count. He was dressed entirely in black -- black T-shirt, black jeans, black high-top running shoes -- and the look in his eyes was pure mean.

"My kind," E. D. Applewhite said. She had no intention of telling this creep the story of her name. She could tell by looking at him that he'd never heard of Edith Wharton, her mother's favorite writer. Being probably the only almost-thirteen-year-old girl in the whole country named Edith, she had no intention of giving him even that little bit of ammunition to use against her. E.D., she thought, was at least dignified -- like a corporate executive, which one day she just might be. "What kind of a name is Jake Semple?"

Two can play at that game, the boy's face said. "Mine."

Not an original bone in his body, E.D. thought. Just a plain ordinary delinquent.

According to her friend Melissa, though, Jake Semple was famous. He had been kicked out of the public schools in the whole state of Rhode Island. Melissa wasn't sure what all he'd done to achieve that particular distinction, but the word around Traybridge was that one thing he did was burn down his old school. He'd come to North Carolina to live with his grandfather Henry Dugan, a neighbor of the Applewhites, and go to Traybridge Middle School.

The plan had not lasted long. No one in living memory had been thrown out of Traybridge Middle School, but Jake Semple had managed toaccomplish that feat in three weeks flat. At least the building was still standing. It was only the middle of September, and he had run out of schools that were willing to risk taking him.

Mr. Dugan was inside at that moment discussing with E.D.'s parents, her Aunt Lucille, Uncle Archie, and Grandpa Zedediah the arrangement the two families and Jake's social worker had worked out for continuing Jake's education.

Jake Semple was the first person E.D. had ever met who had a social worker. She thought that was probably only one step away from having a probation officer, which is what Jake's parents would have when they got out of jail. That was why Jake had a social worker -- because his parents were in jail for growing marijuana in their basement and offering some to an off-duty sheriff's deputy. E.D. didn't know how long they were going to be in jail, but at least a year. She figured criminal tendencies ran in families. The kid had burned down his school just after his parents were arrested.

E.D.'s Aunt Lucille was a poet and had been conducting a workshop at Traybridge Middle School when Jake was kicked out. This whole terrible idea had been hers. She'd told Mr. Dugan about the Creative Academy, which was what E.D.'s father had named the Applewhite home school. Only Aunt Lucille, whose view of life was almost pathologically sunny, would get the idea that after an entire state had admitted it couldn't cope with the kid and after Traybridge Middle School had been defeated in less than a month, the Applewhites should take him in. The Creative Academy didn't even have any trained teachers, let alone guidance counselors and armed security guards. There were a whole bunch of buildings the kid could burn down at Wit's End -- the main house, all eight cottages, the goat shed, a toolshed, and the barn.

But somehow Aunt Lucille had convinced everybody else. E.D. had been the only family member to vote against letting Jake Semple join them. She'd begged her grandfather, who usually had more sense than all the rest of the family combined, to put a stop to the idea. "You know how Aunt Lucille can't ever believe a bad thing about anybody!" she'd told him. "Her attitude about people is downright dangerous."

He'd only twiddled with his mustache and said that he rather envied Lucille's rose-colored view of things. "More often than not, I've noticed, it turns out to be true." Then he had declared taking Jake Semple in a noble and socially responsible thing to do. Noble and socially responsible! More like suicidal, E.D. thought. She had thought that even before she'd laid eyes on Jake Semple. Now she was sure of it.

Jake pulled a cigarette out of a pack in his T-shirt pocket.

"Better not light that thing," she said, thinking about lighters and matches and very large fires. "Wit's End is a smoke-free environment."

The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a yellow plastic lighter. "You can't have a smoke-free environment outdoors," he said.

"We can have it anywhere we want -- this is our property, all sixteen acres of it."

Jake looked her square in the eye and lit the cigarette. He took a long drag and blew the smoke directly into her face so that she had to close her eyes and hold her breath to keep from choking on it. Then he said one of Paulie's favorite phrases. No one had managed to break Grandpa's adopted parrot of swearing. E.D. suspected that they wouldn't have any better luck with Jake Semple...

Surviving the Applewhites. Copyright © by Stephanie Tolan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Surviving the Applewhites 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 139 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a teeneage kid who gets in trouble a lot. So he goes and lives with this family that home schools him and he thinks they are annoying. The whole family are artists. The main characters are Jake Semple, E.D., and Destiny. Jake is the kid who gets in trouble and he goes to live with the family. He always wears black and he has piercings on his ears. E.D. is a girl the same age as Jake. She gets annoyed because Jake is bad and he doesn't do his work. Destiny is a little kid who hangs around Jake and follows him everywhere. My favorite part of the book is when the principal of the school that E.D.'s dad works at directing a play and her daughter come over for dinner at their house. They come over because the pricipal wants her daughter in the play so they have dinner and it ends up in a diseaster. This book was interesting the whole way through. I would recommend this book mostly to teens. Surviving the Applewhites. Stephanie S. Tolan. Scholastic Inc. 216 pages. The genre is fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surviving the Applewhites By: Stephanie S. Tolan
In Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, a boy named Jake Semple moves from Rhode Island to Traybridge to get home schooled by the Applewhites, because he got kicked out of every other school he had been to. After he moves in to his room he gets introduced to everything and gets started on his new life. As he sits around a young boy named Destiny Applewhite annoys him. Jake makes the comment that he has to make this life work out because they had nowhere else to send him besides a Juvenile center. E.d Applewhite dislikes Jake because she believes he¿s not going to make it work out for everyone including himself.
One of the older Applewhites is Zedediah Applewhite and he is directing ¿The Sound of Music¿ and gets very frustrated over things like being late and having to put up with everyone. As the Sound of music go¿s on the two teens E.d Applewhite and Jake Semple finally get there¿s more to life. I disliked this book because it didn¿t interest me. In this book some things were ok but I didn¿t like most of it. I like certain parts like were E.d took Jake out to capture pictures of butterfly¿s. This book may be interesting to you if you¿re a reader and you just don¿t care what you read. Surviving the Applewhites was a good thing to read as it tells us about what it¿s like for a boy going through the bad stage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is geart i couldnt put it down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And STOP spoling the book peoples!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book... It took a little bit to understand it because of its lack of dialog- but after it got started it was a very good book and I would recomend it to somebody who has a long time to read a book, and who can understnad books very well...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book!!!!!!!!I love it. Read the second!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Surviving the Applewhites, by Stephanie S. Tolan is about this devilish 13 year old named Jake Semple. He has scarlet red hair that he shapes into points every morning, dresses in complete black, has an eyebrow ring, and too many earrings to count. He is always cursing and smoking and being a bad role model for the whole family. Rumor has it that he got kicked out of every school in Rhode Island that was willing to take the risk of letting him got to school there. There is also a rumor that he burnt down his old school with a lighter and a gas can. This teenager named Jake Semple is a scarlet haired punk you got kicked out of every school in Rhode Island. Both of his parents are in jail so he is forced to go live with is relative in modern time North Carolina. After being kicked out of Traybridge School in just three weeks his relative sends him to the creative academy, the home school where you teach your self. (which doesn¿t motivate Jake) At this academy Jake meets the daughter named Ed, at first they don¿t get along but after being an experiment on how these two kids are different that start to understand each other more and more. The founder of the academy Zedidiah Applewhite, says ¿Under this horrible child must be someone good.¿ As Jake lives there and participates in finishing a butterfly experiment and saving a play he starts to change in to someone he used to know. I thought that this story meant that under anything bad there is always something good. I loved this book! I loved how they brought Jake into this book and changed his character in a creative way. I think that this can relate to people because this book teaches that you never judge a person before you get to know him. Jake Semple reminds me of my friend who used to get in trouble on a regular basis, until he went to camp and changed. I think that this can relate to people because this book teaches that you never judge a person before you get to know them. A related book I have read are Maggie Bean and
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jake Semple is a crazy 14-year-old, sporting a spikey scarlett style of hair, an eyebrow ring, and too many ear piercings to count.He's a delinquent who's been kicked out of every school in Rhode Island, and even burned down his last school! He's moved to live with his grandfather, right next door to the crazy, artsy family, the Applewhites. There, he meets E.D., who's considered the oddball, becuase she'd rather learn than practice the arts. Together, they start a friendship, and Jake starts to realize his interests, and that he's not as bad as he seems. Read Stephanie S. Tolan's newberry honor book about how Jake changes in his experience with the Applewhites. This book would be reccomended to anyone who loves books about life-changing experiences, and finding your true self.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the worst, if not THE worst book I have ever read. It was soooo extremely boring and stupid. There wasn't even ONE good part to this book. I would NOT recommend reading this book. It was so lame and I would not have even gotten through the first chapter of it if I wasn't required to read it for school. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! SAME YOURSELF THE AGONY AND BOREDOM! this book was so very mind numbing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book that shows how a delinquent troublemaker to the Applewhites Academy. All of the teachers there have great jobs. I think the message of this book is don¿t be afraid of change. The main character is Jake Semple. Some of the other characters are E.D (Edith), Archie, Zeditha, Randolph, Destiny, and Cordilea. The author uses a lot of description to make Jake look bad at first. Then at the end all of that changes. When I was reading this book it gave me a lot of questions, Like Will the sound of music be canceled? Will Destiny ever stop trying to dye his hair? Will Jake ever perform in another play? This is a must read book I am asking Stephanie S. Tolan to make a sequel to this book. If she does I will read it. If I had not joined B.O.B I would not have ever read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was so addicting! I finished it in about 3 days! I couldn't put it down! Jake Semple seems just adds a little something to the story! He is totally oppisite from the other Applewhites. But somehow, he finds himself a little something where he can be a little creative like the other Applewhites!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book isthe besst book ever! I think everyone should read this book. I give this book two thumbs up.
Lena.Reed_BoB on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This book is about a boy named Jake Sempel. Jake is a delinquent and he is living a miserable life. Then come the Applewhites. The Applewhite family is in charge of a Homeschooling program and this family is rather awkward. Jake finds himself as an outsider as soon as he steps foot on the Wit's End property. Jake learns many different things as he lives a Wit's End. Jake learns that he must babysit Destiny, because Destiny can't look up to his older brother Hal, who will stay only in his room. At the end Jake likes the family and him and E.D. get along very well.I really think this book was kind of tidious but then maybe it was also okay. I would have rather really read a different book, something more exciting and not really dull. I can kind of relate to how Jake feels, he is mostly lonely and he tries to fit in but he just can't. Thank you Mr. Poppe for letting me get a wiff of another book that is quite interesting.
cmurph1 on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Reading this book is like taking a vacation with eccentric but very lovable relatives. Jake Semple's transformation from punk to performer is totally believable.
mmleynek on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Personal Response:This book was kind of quirky but I enjoyed it. It was a bit predictable at times and I felt that some things were left unresolved. I found the multicultural production of "The Sound of Music" quite comical. Curricular Connection:I would use this for a literature study with my students.
laurieleewalsh on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This book was a bit of a disappointment - especially for a Newbery Honor book.The characters were pretty flat and one-dimensional and the main character, Jake, evolved with very little conflict. There were too many characters in the story that were not very well developed.My two favorite characters were Destiny and Winston (the dog). They were not the main characters though. This book being chosen as a Newbery Honor book makes me want to find out which book won in 2002 . . . and if 9/11 the year before had any impact on the selection committee's choice in this book.I'm not sure I'd recommend this to my students - there are too many other great books out there for them to spend time reading this one.
Melissa.mhan3754 on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan is about how the Applewhite create The Sound of Music program and survive with Jack Semple. E.D. is having troble getting along with Jack and with the Creative Academy. She was different from the Applewhites because she liked to be neat and organized. Near the end E.D. comes up with this splendid plan to help her father and the rest of the visitors at their house. They make their own stage in their barn and put on the play of The Sound of Music. If is wasn't for E.D. the play would not have been a success. This book was ok, but it was not my favorite. It was cool how E.D. had this idea of making a stage and getting everything ready to actually put on a play with people who come to watch. I also liked Jake's way of the catching real catipillars and watching them turn into butterflies. Destiny went crazy with them and wanted to watch them every second. It was also kind of funny when he changed his hair to become like Jake. Another funny part was when the cook made really spicey food and Ms. Matrose turned red. Most of all I enjoyed watching the Sound of Music after reading the book.
hailey.parker98 on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Surviving the Applewhites is about a boy named Jake, who had been kicked out of many schools. Jake was then sent to "The Creative Academy." The Creative Academy is a school where kids can do whatever they would like to learn as long as they complete the project. In the middle of the story The director of the creative academy, decided to direct a play called "The Sound of Music." That is what the story is mainly about.I like the Book "Surviving the Applewhites" because i like all the characters and what they do. There is Randolph, Destiny, E.D, Hal, and most importantly Jake. My favorite character is Jake because he used to be someone mean but once he meets the applewhites he changes.
mekenna.hooper on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Surving the applewhites is about a boy named jake and the family of applewhites. jake has a bad reputation in the town of trunt. he burnt down the school not on purposs, but everyone thought he did. so, he ended up at the creative acdemy (where childern disover ther true potential). when he first gets there he is assined the butterfly porject to do with E.D. (one of the applewhite kids). they were seaching every were for a common butterfly in the corlina. E.D. could not find the butterfly. jake had to search for the butterfly too. Jake was the one that found it on the front of someones car. when E.D. finished a lesson she like to give desitiny a learning lesson. she had done a paper machey of a catipiler and crisloless. then jake had a better idea to have destiney lean by actuly having them grow up while destiney watches. randolf is the father of destiny and E.D. he was a director of broad way plays . his play was going great untill his everyone but the cast quit. so they held the play at the barn.that is tidbits of the applewhites.this book is okay. i belive it is a great teaching toll. it tells that you my be bad at first, but people change. so i like this book more then like explans, but its less then love.
TylerF. on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This is a book about a school. But not just any school, the Creative Academy. Jake Semple is a sort of "Juvenille Deliquent." The Academy's goal is turn Jake into a well behaved kid. Jake meets a girl about his age named ED. It is ED's job to turn Jake around. Everything works out in the end, thanks to The Sound of Music.I didn't really like Surviving the Applewhites. I mainly didn't like the type of book it was. I like action books. But if I had to say my favorite part of the book was, I would say when Jake found the butterfly ED was missing. I recommend the book to people who like any type of book thats not action or adventure. This book also got boring at a point. I overall didn't like this book.
cmbohn on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Jake Stemple is a Bad Kid. He likes being the Bad Kid. But now both his parents are in jail, he's just been kicked out of the last school likely to take him in, and his grandpa has dropped in off in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina among a crazy group of artistic-hippie types. But after a month or so, he finds that he fits in better than he expected.It wasn't exactly unpredictable, but it was very funny. I loved the production of the first-ever multi-cultural production of The Sound of Music, complete with accordion music and candlelight. I loved the characters and the relationships. Very fun.
julie_savage on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Surviving the Applewhites is a realistic fiction novel about a foster boy who is labled as a troublemaker and is continuously kicked out of foster homes. He is sent to live at a home where the kids are "homeschooled" and basically design there whole education. His first opinion of their family is pretty accurate, however, it does change through the course of the story as he discovers the real meaning of family.
pjacx on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Upbeat and weird look at what¿s a good family.
jckeen on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This is an anchor book of Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Jake Semple is a juvenile delinquent who is sent to a home school run by the Applewhite family. Jake figures that surviving this family will be a cinch. However, he finds that the Applewhites are not an ordinary punishment. Situated on a multi-acre plot, their family community is part school, part farm, part artist colony, part spiritual center, and part theater guild. As he tries to rebel against the few rules and loose structure of the Applewhites, Jake begins to have conflicting feelings. The family dog befriends him, and he takes an interest in a local play, directed by one of the Applewhites. Is he starting to find himself? E.D. Applewhite is a smart--semi-blacksheep girl--who butts heads with Jake. The story is just as much about her relationship with her family and where she fits in. Children will find much in common with many of these two characters' feelings and tribulations. If nothing else, Surviving the Applewhites is a humorous and entertaining read.
cyberA on LibraryThing 5 days ago
A funny and entertaning book
piggy345 on LibraryThing 5 days ago
Surviving the applewhites is about a delinquent kid who goes to live with the applewhites family. It is about him trying to get along with them and learning what life is really about. I did not like this book very much. I feel like they could have said more and explained more about him and how he gets along.