Jen is just getting used to her life on Peapod Farm with her new stepsisters, Andy and Reese. But when the school year starts, there are more changes in store for her. Jen has to navigate new friends and new challenges—at least she’ll have Andy with her, right?

Nonetheless, as she starts sixth grade, she finds that her stepsister seems way more interested in crushes and boys than hanging out with her, while Jen wants to know when the world decided boys and girls couldn’t be “just friends” anymore.


The second novel in this graphic series follows STEPPING STONES, but the engaging APPLE CRUSH works fine on its own. The colorful images bursting with emotion tell a story many middle graders will find familiar. Divorce impacts everyone, especially 6th grader, Jen (pictured left in her normal tom-boy attire).

Jen gains a new friend at school (who is a boy), but in typical middle school culture everyone assumes they have to be more than friends. The assumptions are more than frustrating.

Jen has to deal with the misconceptions along with being pulled in different directions. Her dad on the weekends and Mom and boy friend during the week at Peapod Farms. It’s there that she and her step sister get jobs helping a neighboring farm run its annual pumpkin patch and popular haunted hayride.

Many new fans of the series will be attracted to the fun setting along with the effects of being at a new school—an honest portrayal indeed. Yes, librarians come to the rescue more than most realize.

Heartfelt and fast paced, you’ll smile and want a sip of apple cider after spending time with APPLE CRUSH.


Lucy Knisley is the critically acclaimed, award-winning, New York Times bestselling comics creator of Relish and Kid Gloves. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. She specializes in personal, confessional graphic novels and travelogues. The Peapod Farms books are Lucy’s first graphic novels for kids.


Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to APPLE CRUSH

  1. carolbaldwin says:

    Very nice review. I agree with the sentiments behind this book!

  2. Sounds like a pretty cute book. I don’t read many graphic novels, but I might check this one out based on your review.

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.