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Buzzy Book Review: Apples Never Fall

Title: Apples Never Fall
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction, Family Drama, Suspense
Page Count: 467
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Date Published: September 17, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Goodreads Synopsis:

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.


So here we have an odd case of a book that I could easily give both a somewhat scathing review or a highly praising one … maybe that’s why I have sat on completing this review for so long. I don’t want to do the work to figure out my thoughts!

I am a sucker for complicated, twisty, delicious family drama stories … especially big families. Caveat being, I mostly despise close families. Bickering, secretive, loathing relationships with a *titch* of familial love is my jam and Liane Moriarty is queen of this – her characters are morally grey and equally loveable as they are detestable. Apples Never Fall is easy to digest, the writing is fluid, the story is surprising, unique, and complexly gripping … when you can clear out the extra, copious details delivered – which somehow both add to and subtract from the story as a whole. 

Oh, but for the pacing. This is not the book to pick up for those who need or want a brisk paced story. Apples Never Fall is very slowly plotted and unhurried. Working through this took a lot more brain power than I was anticipating.

What does this mean for you, dear reader? The ending will be a “make it or break it” for you. For me, I really liked it. I found some of the “what happened to Joy” a little … odd, I could have done without the Pandemic being written into the story – tucked onto the end like an afterthought – and a key character pulled a somewhat head scratching 180 degree turn. But all that said, I loved this big, noisy, complicated family and each and every character is so well wrote, so completely brought to life that I was really invested. Wanting to know more about them and what happens to them is what drove me forward. Moriarty’s astute observations of real relationships – parent, child, partner – are funny, heartbreaking, and honest. If you’re a reader who likes to invest in characters rather than a fast plot and have the time, Apples Never Fall is ultimately rewarding for the patient, detailed driven reader. 

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