The Bad Apple by TR Burns (Tricia Rayburn) is the first of a middle grade series called The Merits Of Mischief. Seamus Hinkle finds himself at Kilter Academy after accidentally killing a substitute teacher with one bad throw of an apple. To outsiders, Kilter looks like the harshest reform school on the block. To the staff and students, though it is a luxurious school with state of the art equipment that teaches it’s students to be professional troublemakers.
Seamus Hinkle, prior to the apple incident, was one of those good kids who never even went so far as to color outside the lines. But, because of one very bad choice everyone thinks that he is something he is not, namely a troublemaker. Will Seamus shake thinks up and take a walk on the wild side or will he continue to play it safe?
TR Burns builds a fun world and a school I would not mind going to, although Kilter Academy is no match for Hogwarts. Demerits are considered a desirable thing and a badge of honor. Gold stars, on the other hand, may as well be scarlet letters. Bad is in at Kilter. Each student earns credits to spend on troublemaking supplies at the Komissary based on demerits. Another interesting thing about Burns’ world? Each student is issued a device similar to an iPhone called a K-Pak which gives them emails and homework and missions.
However, I am left with a few questions at the end of The Bad Apple. What is the point of the troublemaking? Where do all of the supplies and goods that are sold at the Komissary come from? Is it magic? Also, the ending is a cliffhanger and not very satisfactory.
Yet, there are good times to be had while reading about The Bad Apple. Sometimes mischief and capers can be downright amusing. It’s interesting to see uptight Seamus begin to trust himself, make friends, and loosen up. I’d definitely recommend Merits Of Mischief: The Bad Apple by TR Burns to fourth-seventh graders, both male and female.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.
Other reviews of The Bad Apple by TR Burns:
The Maniac Society Of Young Book Reviewers – “I really like the main character”
Kid Lit Geek – “It’s a tremendously fun read”
Shannon Messenger – “a quick, fun read full of twists and turns and hilarious debacles”