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The Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  376 ratings  ·  102 reviews
“It’s easy to get drawn into this fast-paced, funny, and entertaining adventure” (Publishers Weekly) about a school where making trouble is highly encouraged.

Twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle is a good kid with a perfect school record—until the day of the unfortunate apple incident.

Seamus is immediately shipped off to a detention facility—only...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Aladdin (first published April 24th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Mary Anne
Mar 18, 2012 Mary Anne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary Anne by: Mom
Shelves: fiction
My mother picked this up for me as ARC from a small conference she attended. And I sense I'm going to be in the minority on this one. Granted, I'm not the intended audience for this book. With that in mind, enter the spoiler link!

(view spoiler)...more
Rachel
It is always a delight to find such a playful and engaging book as this one, especially for intermediate readers. In this story Seamus Hinkle is sent to a school for misfits after accidentally killing his substitute teacher with an apple. Through a series of (mostly accidental) events Seamus becomes a star on campus at a school that rewards troublemaking and punishes tattling and good behaviors. Eventually he bands up with his fellow classmates to make school history.

What I loved most about thi...more
Janie Hepler
The characters seemed a little flat, and every situation worked out a little too perfectly. The suspense was non-existent. Though the idea for this book wasn't bad, it was poorly executed. I didn't hate it enough to stop reading, but I won't be reading the next installment, even though this one ended on a cliffhanger.
BAYA Librarian
This book has an intriguing premise: a school that teaches troublemaking and rewards misbehavior. Sadly, this book failed in so many ways, it was barely readable. Let’s begin with the concept that a school for tomfoolery has a very rigid authoritarian structure. Add to that characters whose motivations and reactions make very little sense much of the time and a plot that goes only to the most obvious places.

Seamus Hinkle has killed a substitute teacher and is shipped off to the Kilter Academy w...more
Andrew
Seamus Hinkle isn’t a bad kid. When he threw his apple during a food fight in the school cafeteria, he was only trying to prevent the substitute teacher from getting in over her head. He certainly didn’t mean to kill her. Now, he finds himself enrolled at the Kilter Academy for Troubled Youth, and he’s quite certain that he’s in for something truly terrible.

But as soon as his parents drive off, he finds that Kilter Academy isn’t what it first appears to be. He is confused to find that he has som...more
Chris
"But if this isn't a reform school . . . what is it?

Houdini's feet drop to the floor. He leans forward. Holds my eyes with his. "A world-renowned, top secret training facility."

I want to look away but can't.

"Kilter Academy for Troubled Youth doesn't accept just anyone," Houdini continues. "Each semester, the admissions board receives thousands of applications and fills only thirty slots. Acceptance is based on a number of criteria, the most important being a student's natural talent for bad beha
...more
Laura
Poor Seamus: one incredible, coincidental, horrible throw of an apple and his entire life is changed. That apple? It hit a substitute teacher, in the head, and killed her. And that one action got him sent to Kilter Academy for Troubled Youth, where his roommate, Lemon, has gone through twelve roommates in three weeks thanks to his habit of playing with fire. Seamus is homesick, ashamed of what he did, and hopes only to make it through the first semester so he can go home. But the Kilter Academy...more
Vicki Sansum
I picked up this ARC because the back blurb sounded fun. And fun, it was.

When quiet 12-year old Seamus Hinkle throws an apple to break up a lunch room fight, the apple hits a substitute teacher in the head and kills her. This premise would be horrible if it weren't for the fact that the story takes an unexpected turn to absurdity.

Seamus is sent to what he thinks is a reform school, but instead he finds out that it's a school deigned to improve the talents of troublemakers.

This fast-paced book ta...more
Henry S
i think this is one of the best books I've ever read in my entire life! It's filled with action, like when Seamus (the main character) accidentally kills his substitute teacher in the lunchroom, and when after he accidentally kills his substitute teacher gets sent to the Kilter reform school which is secretly a... you'll have to read it to find out! It's also filled with comedy like when Seamus calls the... and gets NEGATIVE 20 demerits. The book The Bad Apple should have the nobel prize for bei...more
Macire' Daffe'
When Seamus Hinkle a 12 year old child throws an apple to stop a school fight he accidentally hits his substitute teacher in the head killing her. This sets off a wild chain of events. Beginning with him being sent off to the best reform school in the country, Kilter Academy. But it turns out Kilter Academy is hiding its true nature from the world. A school where demerits are bad and gold stars are good. A school for the kids to learn to become trouble makers and Seamus is its first murderer. S...more
Gavin Taylor
T.R. Burns' book, Merits of Mischief is about a boy named Seamus Hinkle who does somethings extremely bad and ends up having to go to another school specifically for people that do things just a terrible.
This book starts out with the main character accidentally "killing" his substitute teacher with an apple. His parents send him off to a school for trouble makers and it's from there where he has multiple adventures that will leave some just as confused as he is. It was a very exciting read it an...more
Mr. Kohlhagen



The Bad Apple By T.R. Burns

The main character of this book is Seamus. He hurt his substitute teacher with an apple, but Seamus is not a bad kid. The book is about a boy who hurts his substitute teacher with an apple. His parents send him to school called Kitler Academy were kids learn how to be "bad" However, none of there parents know that this is a school were they learn trouble. At the school Semus meets new friends. They are much different because they like to make trouble. They are definite...more
Ismah French
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was worth the time it took to finish. This fictional story is about how the main character Seamus Hinkle is sent to what people perceive to be a correctional school for the troubled youth for the murder of his substitute Ms. Parsippany, but it's actually a school for troublemakers. Their principal who the children call Annika, and the rest of the teachers believe in troublemaking as an art and gladly approve of it. Since Seamus was transferred there in mid...more
Nikki
I picked up an ARC of The Bad Apple at ALA Midwinters, a few months back. I wish I hadn't waited to read it! It was AMAZING. Full of humor and mystery, mischief and heart. Speaking of hearts, I found my own heart actually racing at one point, I was so caught up in the story. Seriously, folks: palpitations.
My sixth-grade son read it first, loved it, and shoved it on the top of my TBR pile. Glad he did!
We're both a teeny bit desperate for the sequel - one of the great perils of reading an ARC.
Carrie Ardoin
Seamus Hinkle has been in trouble at school before--but nothing as serious as the kind of trouble he's in now. In fact, he's done something so bad, his parents decide to send him away to the rough Kilter Academy, which promises to give him a complete turnaround.

But once Seamus gets to Kilter Academy, he's both shocked and a little bit horrified to learn that the boarding school is actually a training ground for misbehaved kids to develop into professional Troublemakers! Although Seamus is ashame...more
Annie
I was looking for a light and funny read after a couple emotionally difficult death-themed, high-school YA books. And this was not it.

This is definitely a funny read. Seamus is a truly good kid who lands himself in a huge pile of trouble and ends up at what he thinks is the toughest reform school in the country--but turns out to be a boarding school that aims to create an army of merry pranksters. Demerits are like gold stars, and gold stars are like demerits. The only way you succeed is if you...more
Jessica
Hidden deep inside this book is an intriguing premise: a school that teaches troublemaking and rewards misbehavior. Sadly, this book failed in so many ways, it was barely readable. Let’s begin with the concept that a school for tomfoolery has a very rigid authoritarian structure.

Seamus Hinkle has killed a substitute teacher and is shipped off to the Kilter Academy which his parents believe is a reform school but is really a home for future troublemakers. Seamus spends the ensuing weeks, stewing...more
Xander
Seamus Hinkle didn't mean to become a troublemaker. He didn't even mean to kill his substitute teacher, Ms. Parsippany. He only threw the apple across the cafeteria to stop the trouble. But things took a turn for the worse, and now Seamus is in reform school. Which isn't reform school at all. Kilter Academy is a place for Troublemakers: at Kilter Academy, they don't make you a "Good Samaritan". They make you even bigger troublemakers, and to pass each semester you have to prank each and every on...more
Kelly Hager
Seamus is a good kid, the kind who always has his homework done early and is unfailingly polite. Unfortunately, the one time he decides to act out (to stop a fight in the cafeteria), a substitute teacher ends up dead. (Seamus throws an apple, which hits her in the head---total freak accident.) Next thing you know, he's been sent to the Kilter Academy, which is a reform school for troublemakers.

Except it turns out that what it ACTUALLY is is a school to make "bad" students even worse! Demerits a...more
Lisa Nocita
Seamus is a kid with a conscience. He's polite and a conscientious student. Except for the small fact that he accidentally killed a substitute teacher in the cafeteria, you'd probably never notice him. But one apple changes his fate in unexpected and perplexing ways. Expelled from school, his parents enroll him in a school for wayward delinquent youth that turns out to be a front for an elite, posh training facility for troublemakers of all sorts. Seamus' crime gives him brownie points among his...more
Ms.
Oh there will most assuredly be a sequel. The ending and even the book's self-promoting final message to visit the website and to email the students at Kilter Academy make that clear. I thought the title and premise of the book were funny and intriguing so I snagged the book up quickly when it arrived new to our library. As for the previous critiques that Fishstick connoisseur Seamus is nice and therefore shouldn't be at Kilter...well, isn't that the whole point of the fish-seemingly-out-of-wate...more
Mjohnson
There are so many elements of this book that I really liked, including the premise. And the kids. But all the way through I was so confused as to the actual purpose of it all. Too many elements were so very disjointed.

As an adult, I can figure out that the skills being developed a this "school" are actually helping promote natural bents and talents. As a fan of alternative schooling, I can see the potential. But it takes way too much reading into to it (esp. for the age of this intended audience...more
Sherrie
When a food fight breaks out in the cafeteria of Seamus' school he lobs an apple at his sworn enemy, Bartholomew John. The apple misses the intended target and instead takes out Miss Parsippany Seamus' substitute teacher.This incident earns him a spot at the country's top reform school, Kilter Academy. Seamus is a nervous wreck when his parents drop him off at Kilter which is reminiscent of a maximum security prison. After his parents head back home the real purpose of the school is revealed. Ki...more
Barbara
Things happen quickly in this madcap story of twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle's life at Kilter Academy, a place for gifted troublemakers. To his dismay, Seamus accidentally kills a substitute teacher with a well-thrown apple in his school's cafeteria, prompting his banishment to the reform school which turns out not to be what it purports to be. Seamus is essentially a good kid, and he tries hard to stay out of trouble. But staying out of trouble is not the way to succeed, and he ends up being all...more
Lessa
This is the story of a pretty good kid who makes one bad decision and becomes a murderer. No thanks to his great aim, an apple, and a substitute teacher in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of a sudden, Seamus Hinkle becomes a reform school candidate and his parent's ship him off to Kilter Academy. What his parents don't know is that Kilter Academy is actually a school to turn your trouble-maker child into a professional trouble-maker. The school thrives on pranks, thievery, and earning as...more
Brittany
When Seamus becomes accidentally responsible for his substitute teacher's death his parents aren't sure what to do with him. Then they hear about Kilter Academy, a reform school. They ship him off right away. At first Seamus is miserable, he didn't mean to kill that teacher, but soon he realizes Kilter Academy isn't quite what his parents signed him up for. It's a school for miscreants all right, but it's more of a training school than a reform school. Trouble-making is rewarded at Kilter and Se...more
Arsh M
Apr 10, 2013 Arsh M is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading Merits of Mischief The Bad Apple by: T.R. Burns. I am at the part where Seamus waits in the cafeteria line for fish sticks but the guy in front of him Bartholomew Eats all the fish sticks and Seamus doesn't get any. I think the author does a good job of describing because I could tell about Bartholomew is strong because he crushed a milk carton and fat because he eats almost all the fish sticks. I think me and Seamus aren't the same because she likes fish sticks and I don'...more
Leo
I recently read Tricia Ray Burns's The Bad Apple (Merits Of Mischief #1). I really thought this book was funny. After Seamus Hinkle "Accidentally" kills his substitute teacher during a food fight at lunch, his parents send him to Kilter Academy, which they think is a reform school.It turns out Kilter is quite the opposite. Seamus there is taught to be a professional troublemaker, a criminal of sorts. To advance in level(as well as popularity), he has to "get" each teacher with the techniques t...more
Gabrielle Prendergast
Not long ago I entered a contest on Twitter, asking entrants to detail a mischievous act. I told about the time I filled the fountain in front of city hall with laundry soap and red food coloring so it was pink and bubbly the next day. Ah, high school.

Anyway, I won the contest and the prize was a super fun promo pack for T.R. Burns’s THE MERITS OF MISCHIEF: THE BAD APPLE. Here’s the blurb:

Quirky and irreverent new middle-grade series about a group of kids being trained to cause trouble!

For all o...more
Dora
Three words.
Fourteen letters.
3/25ths of a sentence.
"...fling it forward."
A whole story came out of that much. TR Burns is definitely a talented author, this book has led me to realize.

Seamus Hinkle is a normal student. Or at least he tries to be. But in the course of trying to break up a fight, Seamus throws an apple, and it doesn't quite hit its desired target. Next thing he knows, he's on his way to Kilter Academy for Troubled Youth. "Way up north, like wave-hello-to-Santa-and-his-elves no...more
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