Surviving the Applewhites

by Stephanie S. Tolan

Paperback, 2012



Call number

PB Tol

Call number

PB Tol

Local notes

PB Tol




HarperCollins (2012), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages


Jake, a budding juvenile delinquent, is sent for home schooling to the arty and eccentric Applewhite family's Creative Academy, where he discovers talents and interests he never knew he had.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

240 p.; 5.13 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member jckeen
This is an anchor book of Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Jake Semple is a juvenile delinquent who is sent to a home school run by the Applewhite family. Jake figures that surviving this family will be a cinch. However, he finds that the Applewhites are not an ordinary punishment. Situated on a
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multi-acre plot, their family community is part school, part farm, part artist colony, part spiritual center, and part theater guild. As he tries to rebel against the few rules and loose structure of the Applewhites, Jake begins to have conflicting feelings. The family dog befriends him, and he takes an interest in a local play, directed by one of the Applewhites. Is he starting to find himself?

E.D. Applewhite is a smart--semi-blacksheep girl--who butts heads with Jake. The story is just as much about her relationship with her family and where she fits in. Children will find much in common with many of these two characters' feelings and tribulations. If nothing else, Surviving the Applewhites is a humorous and entertaining read.
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LibraryThing member matt.rocha0505
THis book is about boy named jake who was sent to the creative academy. For setting his old school on fire. In the middle of this book he is picked without asking to be in a play for sound of music. But then he started to like playing as Rolf. At the end the play was a success. This is a good book
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to read. It caught ma in surprise at certain points in the story. I would like it though if its story was not all over the place.
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
Jake has arrived at his last resort after being kicke d out of nearly every school around, the Applewhites home school.
LibraryThing member edcwalk
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this with my 10 yr old son. We loved this artistic and chaotic family. Gives some idea of how unschooling works as an educational philosophy.
LibraryThing member Omrythea
This was so-so. The family, through their actions, shows their "visitor" what is really important in life.
LibraryThing member jrakeandlola
I liked this book only a little because I like books with more adventure than this one had but i did like the parrot who said bad words in different languages.
LibraryThing member volleyballgirl
This book was really good! Jake was really bad so know he has to go to a home school. Does he tun out to be good or is he still the same? Destiney always wants to do what Jake does. Winston the dog always follows him around and Randolph is filming a play. Is Randolph going to pull off the play or
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will i go down the drain? Read more to find out what happens.
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LibraryThing member Muv1
This is a really funny story about a juvenile delinquent who is trying to get attention. I think everyone should read it!
LibraryThing member laurieleewalsh
This book was a bit of a disappointment - especially for a Newbery Honor book.

The characters were pretty flat and one-dimensional and the main character, Jake, evolved with very little conflict. There were too many characters in the story that were not very well developed.

My two favorite characters
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were Destiny and Winston (the dog). They were not the main characters though.

This book being chosen as a Newbery Honor book makes me want to find out which book won in 2002 . . . and if 9/11 the year before had any impact on the selection committee's choice in this book.

I'm not sure I'd recommend this to my students - there are too many other great books out there for them to spend time reading this one.
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LibraryThing member tatertot84
This book takes place in North Carolina, in property called Wits End. Here, a boy named Jake Simpleton is sent to a Creative Academy ran by the Applewhites. After burning down his old school and flunking out of many others, he is forced to go here or go to Juvenile Hall. E.D, one of the members of
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the family, takes Jake as a bad influence and swears he will flunk out soon. During his stay, Destiny , E.D's little brother, follows him around trying to be like him in every way usually sparking up trouble and impresses the family when he creates a metamorphosis project to teach Destiny about the evolution of butterflies . One day Randolph, a play director, needs to direct the play The Sound of Music and asks Jake to be Rolf. This is a new thing for Jake and makes him feel proud he is asked to play a role. After a few weeks, the play is canceled because everyone except the actors quit and the entire family decided to run the play. Every thing was going smoothly and the actors remembered their parts, until a women objected not having her child be Gretl and threatened to cancel the show. But after trying to convince her over dinner, she shut down the show. E.D save the play be deciding to have the play in their barn and saved the show again. Before the performance Jake changed his entire look and did wonderfully at the play. He was no longer known as the delinquent but a hard working kid. E.D also accepted him too for his mental and physical improvement with the Applewhites.

I recommend this book to kids that feel like they can't change. This book shows how a delinquent turned into the stare of a play. So you can change if you want to believe you can. This book also has hilarious results in some events that occur. For instance, to make his hair have spikes like Jake, Destiny puts purple kool-aid for the butterflies in his to hair and it gets all over him. For kids who feel like they can change, read this book!
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LibraryThing member julie_savage
Surviving the Applewhites is a realistic fiction novel about a foster boy who is labled as a troublemaker and is continuously kicked out of foster homes. He is sent to live at a home where the kids are "homeschooled" and basically design there whole education. His first opinion of their family is
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pretty accurate, however, it does change through the course of the story as he discovers the real meaning of family.
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LibraryThing member pjacx
Upbeat and weird look at what’s a good family.
LibraryThing member cmbohn
Jake Stemple is a Bad Kid. He likes being the Bad Kid. But now both his parents are in jail, he's just been kicked out of the last school likely to take him in, and his grandpa has dropped in off in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina among a crazy group of artistic-hippie types. But after a
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month or so, he finds that he fits in better than he expected.

It wasn't exactly unpredictable, but it was very funny. I loved the production of the first-ever multi-cultural production of The Sound of Music, complete with accordion music and candlelight. I loved the characters and the relationships. Very fun.
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LibraryThing member mmleynek
Personal Response:
This book was kind of quirky but I enjoyed it. It was a bit predictable at times and I felt that some things were left unresolved. I found the multicultural production of "The Sound of Music" quite comical.

Curricular Connection:
I would use this for a literature study with my
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LibraryThing member AaronKAwsome
This is a chapter book that is about two totally different people. There is E.D. who is organized and very responsible. Then there is Jake, he got kicked out of every single school in Rhode Island and even burned down one of the schools. He has just moved in with the Applewhites who runs its own
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school called the Creative Academy. The Applewhites have a big family there is E.D, Destiny, Hal, Sybil, Lucille, Cordelia, Archie, Zedediah, and Randolph. Jake has lived there for a little while when Jeremy Bernstein comes to interview Sybil who is a writer. Jameson finds out that the whole family is talented and wants to write a book. Randolph tells him that he will be conducting a play from the Sound of Music. Jeremy calls all the writers and T.V. people to come. Randolph then wants Jake to be in the play. Jake suddenly falls in love with the play but the tech crew quit. Randolph then asked everyone to help him. After that the whole play was cancelled. They decide to have the play in the barn. Everything works and all over North Carolina people are talking about the play. Jake has turned from being a juvenile delinquent to a nice person.
I think this book is very, very good. It is a totally new type of telling a story about two kids. Toland did an excellent job writing this book. I like how there are more characters than in normal books and all of them are important. There are some many things that happen in the book. It is also funny because destiny and Jake always get in trouble. This is a perfect book for every one.
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LibraryThing member Ms.Turtle
Jake Semple has good deep down inside. Book is really funny and personalitys change.
LibraryThing member Brennan.Pankratz
Surviving The Applewhites is about a boy named Jake Symple. He is sent to the Creative Acadamy, a school run by the Applewhites. At first, Jake doesn't like it. But, they produce a play called the Sound Of Music. Jake is asked to be in it. He playes Rolf, a messenger boy who is also a Nazi. The
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show becomes a big hit, and Jake decides to change his attitude about every thing.
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LibraryThing member sparklegirl
this is about a juvenial (did I spell that right?)delinquent type of kid who gets put into a weird school.The hills are alive with the sound of music!!!
LibraryThing member samri.wonnacott
Jake Semple is notorious. Jack has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school and did lotes of bad thing out.
Only one place will take him and it is only the Applewhite The only one who doesn′t fit the Applewhite mold is E.D. -- a smart, girl at the first time she saw jake
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she didnt like him. if you go to this Creative Academy you are able to do a projects about whatever you what to do.
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LibraryThing member ChrisNelsonsmartkid
This book is a story of a teenager with a bad start into life. When juvinial delinquent, Jake Semple is forced into Wits End, he didn't know whats coming. When he first gets there, he meets E.D., the 2nd oldest Applewhite. He then learns that smoking is not allowed in Wits End. When the head of the
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Applewhite family, Randolph is in dier need of a cast because the old one quit, and the whole entire family accepts, even Jake. Unfortunately, Destiny, the youngest Applewhite gets paper wads it up and places it in the trash can, he later ignites the fire with Jake's lighter. So now they have to build a new stage at the Applewhite's barn. In the end Jake learns the importance of teamwork.

In my opinon, this book was O.K. It was not my favorite book for many reasons. One of them was, to me, the book had no point. Its like, Yea its a bad kid that gets caught in the middle of a family crisis. Another reason it wasn't my favorite book was that it was boring, it didn't have any action to it. There was only some parts that were intresting. The last reason that this book wasn't intresting is that it just isn't my type of book. I usually like greek mythology and the 39 clues and those types of books. That is why I think that Surviving the Applewhites was not my favorite book.
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LibraryThing member hayleigh.russo8
Surviving the Applewhites is about 2 teens who are very diffrent. Jake is a juvenal deliget who is now living with the Applewhite family. E.D. is a tennage girl who feels that she is diffrent that her family. When Jake joins the Applewhites, he joins the Cretaive Acadamy as well. That is a school
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that the Applewhites made to let kids creativety flow. Jake does not want to do anything but he finds that he has a talent for acting, and get a lead role in the play, The Sound of Music.

This was a really good book because it can relate to some kids, and it is written by a kids point of view. It talks like a teenageer would talk, and sees things like a teenager would see things. I would recomend this book.
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LibraryThing member TylerF.
This is a book about a school. But not just any school, the Creative Academy. Jake Semple is a sort of "Juvenille Deliquent." The Academy's goal is turn Jake into a well behaved kid. Jake meets a girl about his age named ED. It is ED's job to turn Jake around. Everything works out in the end,
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thanks to The Sound of Music.
I didn't really like Surviving the Applewhites. I mainly didn't like the type of book it was. I like action books. But if I had to say my favorite part of the book was, I would say when Jake found the butterfly ED was missing. I recommend the book to people who like any type of book thats not action or adventure. This book also got boring at a point. I overall didn't like this book.
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LibraryThing member mekenna.hooper
Surving the applewhites is about a boy named jake and the family of applewhites. jake has a bad reputation in the town of trunt. he burnt down the school not on purposs, but everyone thought he did. so, he ended up at the creative acdemy (where childern disover ther true potential). when he first
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gets there he is assined the butterfly porject to do with E.D. (one of the applewhite kids). they were seaching every were for a common butterfly in the corlina. E.D. could not find the butterfly. jake had to search for the butterfly too. Jake was the one that found it on the front of someones car. when E.D. finished a lesson she like to give desitiny a learning lesson. she had done a paper machey of a catipiler and crisloless. then jake had a better idea to have destiney lean by actuly having them grow up while destiney watches. randolf is the father of destiny and E.D. he was a director of broad way plays . his play was going great untill his everyone but the cast quit. so they held the play at the barn.that is tidbits of the applewhites.
this book is okay. i belive it is a great teaching toll. it tells that you my be bad at first, but people change. so i like this book more then like explans, but its less then love.
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LibraryThing member GFalltheway
All in all surviving the applewhites was a good book and I encourage anyone who wants a good short read to read it. If you have a child of the ages of 8 to 12 I encourage you to get it for them.
LibraryThing member sammynop
This book is about a boy named Jake who has to move in with a family called the Applewhites. Jake had to move in because he had set his old school on fire. Jake soon found that it was hard to live with the Applewhites. He is thrown into the Creative Academy with E.D. Applewhite. Randolph Applewhite
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soon realized Jake's talent and puts Jake onto his play, The Sound of Music, as Rolf. The play is very popular and Jake realizes that he wants to sing.
I liked this book because Jake became a better person at the end of the book. E.D. found that her family needed her the most at times. I confused me whenever I read about Destiny because sometimes I still think he's a girl.
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½ (336 ratings; 3.7)
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