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Surviving the Applewhites (Applewhites #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  8,021 ratings  ·  510 reviews
Will anyone take on Jake Semple?

Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state.

Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D.—a smart, sensible girl who immediately
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by HarperTrophy (first published August 6th 2002)
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Seriously I could not have expected a less realistic representation of the metamorphosis of a teenage foster child. I wanted to shake the author and ask her why a teenage boy abandoned by both parents as well as booted out by his grandfather had no REAL issues with trust, attachment, or authority. Seriously even the best of the best kids are going to have a MUCH harder time than represented here. The thought process of Jake when thinking about his life and choices just seemed way too simplistic. ...more
This book has genuinely changed my life more than once. I first read it in the fourth or fifth grade, and fell in love with E.D., who has become a more accurate portrayal of myself since then. I turned to this book whenever I was upset, or excited, or confused, and somehow, rationally or not, it always provided. I literally finished an essay about it last week, and I am now a junior in high school.

The most definitive moment when it touched my life directly was when a kid very, very similar to J
A bit over the top, but full of heart and tons of fun, this is the story of an apparently incorrigible middle-school delinquent and the artistic, eccentric family who might just bring him around. Jake Semple has been kicked out of every school in Rhode Island, and sent to North Carolina to live with his grandfather. After being expelled from yet another school, Jake finds himself taken in by the Applewhites, a sprawling family of artists with a disorganized homeschool and just one highly organiz ...more
Wise Birdy
Dear Stephanie,
I really enjoyed your book. The character development was real and E.D. was my favorite person. I made a family tree for my little sister and I labeled all the characters. Guess what I labeled E.D.? The Sane One! XD.

Will anyone take on Jake Semple?

Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state.

Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious
When reading a Newbery book, I generally enter into the experience with higher expectations than I have for most other books. That gold or silver medal on the cover, letting me know that the ALA Newbery committee for that year considered the novel I'm holding in my hands to be worthy of mention alongside such classics as Charlotte's Web, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Number the Stars, is perhaps the most important external sign I look for in the books that I read.

Jake Stemple is considered one of the ultimate bad boys. He's been kicked out of every school he's ever attended. Then he ends up at Wit's End. Wit's End is where the Applewhite family lives. The Applewhite children are all home schooled and Jake's grandfather has decided that Jake will be joining them. Jake moves in with the Applewhites and realizes that they are all crazy artists, but he is eventually sucked in and joins the family for a massive project that will take everyone's skills.

I liked
Lisa Rathbun
For me, this was forgettable. The characters are weirdly self-absorbed but also all amazingly come together to help put on a play at the end. The kids work unrealistically hard on their homeschooling, instead of goofing off listening to music or playing video games all day, which I think they might tend to do realistically if they had as little adult supervision as they did in this book. I liked E.D., but by the end the focus on her seemed to just drop; I missed her perspective at the end. It se ...more
I wasn't expecting to really like this book when I started it; the thought of another troubled-teen-turned-around book annoyed me. The back cover begins by saying, "Jake Semple is a scary kid. Word has it that he burned down his old school and then was kicked out of every other school in his home state." He is then sent to be home-schooled by the Applewhite family in North Carolina, where the students (consisting only of the family and Jake) are given creative license to learn according to their ...more
Ms. Darcy
I admit I have not read this book in years, but I remember it being one of my favorite books when I was younger. I still get really excited whenever I see a Great Spangled Fritillery. As a homeschooler myself, I thought the Applewhite family was a hilarious. Yes, they are all completely over the top and absurd, but I think they are better done than most characters you will find in books targeting at this same age group.

What also really appealed to me for this book is that the youngest kid, I fo
This is one of my daughter's favorite names, perhaps because she goes by the same initials of the female lead. I enjoy it, it's a light read that makes me take another look at how our family chooses to homeschool. The characters are quirky and fun. I've seen criticism that Jake's family problems should leave him more "hardened" than he is, but, after some consideration, I don't think that necessarily pans out. As one reviewer noted, "His parents are in prison for selling pot, it's not like they' ...more
North Carolina! woo!
I think that's what originally sparked my interest in the book.
The book was well written, though rather predictable. It was subtle where it needed to be, explicit where it worked, and well rounded in it's characters. The use of flipping between E.D.'s and Jake's perspectives was very effective with clean breaks in between. There were a few places that I hoped for more expansion and exploration and the goat's role seemed to cut itself short. But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed
Sep 20, 2009 Sps rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: story, elem
When I wasn't very far into this (60 pages or so) it already bored me. The characters were flat stereotypes and I got no sense of their interior lives, despite lots of telling-rather-than-showing on Tolan's part. Furthermore, I work with four-year-olds, and that ain't a four-year-old. Especially not one raised in a chaotic environment of adult narcissists who do not engage with the child.

Could I predict the plot? You bet. Did I care about what happens to these characters? Heck no. I don't feel
This is very good book. When I see picture of this book It looks very intersting. Story was fun and It makes me want to see Second book.
The five is Owen's rating. While I enjoyed it, I'm thinking more of a 3.5, some parts as a 4, with a really wonderful ending line. When I asked Owen why the high rating, he said because it wasn't sad. And he's right. It wasn't -- it was happy, funny and altogether charming, without being saccharine.

One particular place where it shined above many other children's books is that it didn't spell everything out for you. There were a lot of inferences to be made, and a lot of opportunities for discuss
See this review and more at my blog:

A quick synopsis: With spiked hair and piercings, Jake Semple is a mean kid. He has been expelled from every school in his home state and he thinks surviving the Applewhites will be a breeze...until he meets them. The Applewhites are an artsy and eccentric family that run their own school based around art. But that's not the only difference between his former schools and the Creative Academy, if Jake screws up this one he'
Susan Wight
Jake Semple is a scary kid. Word has it that he burned down his old school and then was kicked out of every other school in his home state. Now there’s only one place left that will take him – a home school run by an outrageous, forgetful, chaotic, quarrelsome family. Each and every Applewhite is an artist through and through – except E.D., the smart, scruffy girl with a deep longing for order and predictability. E.D. and Jake, so nearly the same age, are quickly paired in the family’s first exp ...more
Ms. Foley
This a story about a juvenile deliquent boy who is sent to live with a very unusual and artistic family instead of being put into jail. In some ways, he finds it harder than actually being in jail. It's about fitting in by not fitting in and being true to yourself. There's a lot in the story about putting on a play, so if you are into drama, you would probably like this story.
David Michael Slater
The setup: a teen delinquent is given one last chance to avoid juvie at a home school run by a madcap family of artists, the Applewhites. While the book's leisurely-paced charm is undeniable, so are its various flaws. First, the quirky cast of characters are straight from stock (distracted writer, kooky vegetarian New Ager, drama-queen...dramatist), though young readers are not likely to know or care. Much more significant is that the setup is revealed to be a contrivance, as the swearing, smoki ...more
Monica Williams
How did I not know about how awesome this book was sooner? Jake Semple is one step away from being sent to Juvenile Detention. He is one angry kid who wears his hair in red spikes, swears like a sailor, and tried to burn down his school. He is trouble and proud of it. His parents are both in jail after trying to sell some pot to a police officer. He is sent to be part of the homeschooling program run by the artistic Applewhites. The Applewhites are an interesting bunch- all with varied talents e ...more
For the genre and age group this book was written for, I'd give this a 3. I believe it had a great moral lesson; everyone is needed and everyone has their personal strengths. Cute book, but a more suitable read for my 10 year old.
Rachelle Reed
Oct 15, 2012 Rachelle Reed is currently reading it
Robert and I are reading it together, actually he is reading it to me.Slow and steady progress to chapter18.Robert is liking it better than I at this time, hope it picks up some.
We actually listened to the audio version in the car and we were laughing out loud while listening to it. Very enjoyable book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The notoriously ill-behaved Jake Semple (are the whispers that he burnt down his last middle school really true? Or that he got kicked out of every school in Rhode Island?) has finally arrived at his last chance - the home school operated in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina, by the Applewhites, a family of famously talented artists of various sorts. Of course, Jake knows that he won't be there long - he's practically a pro at getting teachers to fear & hate him. Or so he thinks. He hasn ...more
Jake is a young teenager that has gone through the wrong path. He was a bad student at his school back in Rhode Island. He burned his school to the ground. His social worker told him that he either have to go to a Creative Academy or he could go to Juvenile Hall. He chose to go to the Creative Academy.

When he got there he hated the place. He found out that the academy was made by a family named the Applewhites. They were each talented in their own special way. So it was like an arts academy. T
Genre: Exceptional Learner - Contemporary Fiction
Grade: 6-8

This book is a William Allen White and Newbery award winner.

This book is a funny! The Applewhites take in Jake, a juvenile delinquent. This family is a very artsy family, so Jake thinks they are incredibly weird at first. Randolph, the father is producing a play that suddenly gets canceled. This devastated the family and they fixed up their barn to hold the play there instead. In the meantime Jake starts to enjoy the family, and ends up
Surviving the Applewhites
Tolan, Stephanie
New York: HarperCollins, 2002
216 pages
Newbery Medal, 2003
Chapter book, no illustrations

Genres: Contemporary, transcending difference, cultural tolerance, education tactics

Story is told from two perspectives – E.D.’s and Jake’s. E.D. is a daughter in the quirky, artistic Applewhite clan. The family lives on a sort of artists’ commune/compound in the NE US. They take in Jake, a disturbed boy whose parents are in prison for growing/distributing marijuana. J
Hannah Graff
Surviving the Applewhites
By: Stephanie S. Tolan

In the book Surviving the Applewhites there is this “Bad Boy” named Jake Semple. Jake Semple was abandoned by both of his parents and his grandfather took him in. Jake Semple lived in Rhode Island. He got kicked out of all the schools there and burned one down. Jake's social worker gave him two choices. The first one was to go to the Creative Academy and the second was to go to Juvenile Hall. Jake chose Creative Academy.

Most of the story takes p
Wayne S.
Jake Semple is a twelve-or-thirteen-year-old budding juvenile delinquent with all black “goth” clothes, a silver ring through one eyebrow, numerous earrings, and scarlet spiked hair; also he smokes cigarettes and swears a lot. He has been kicked out of the public schools in the whole state of Rhode Island and is rumored to have burnt one of them down. His parents are in jail for growing marijuana in their basement, so he has been sent to live with his grandfather Henry Dugan in rural Traybridge, ...more
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Stephanie S. Tolan's earliest memories involve books. Those that were read to her and those she read to herself, often late at night with a flashlight under the covers. She always thought there was a special magic in the little black marks on paper that could turn into whole worlds and real people. Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, she wrote her first story in the fourth grade. It was thrillin ...more
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