Friday, January 6, 2012

The Year Money Grew On Trees by Aaron Hawkins

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins (Sandpiper, 2010)

Summary from publisher:
Jackson Jones is surrounded by three hundred wild apple trees, and he needs to make them grow apples -- thousands and thousands of apples.  But what do he and his sisters and cousins know about pruning, irrigating, and fertilizing?  To say nothing of driving a tractor that no one understands how to operate?  And even assuming they can make the apples grow how can they pick and sell enough of them in time?
With frostbitten fingers, stinking shoes, and sore muscles, Jackson and his crew unexpectedly discover the lost art of winging it -- and have the time of their lives.

This is the first book in a long time that had was set during the years I was in middle school.  The pop-culture references took me right back to the early 80s and helped to bring me into the world of this book.  The story, however, is not really dependent on the time period in which it is set, other than the easy acces Jackson and his cousins had to powerful pesticides to spray on the apples.

The premise for this book is an interesting one.  Jackson works in a neighbor's orchard, and at the end of the season the neighbor will get $8,000 and Jackson gets the orchard.  I'll admit; I was rooting for Jackson and his cousins to succeed even though the book felt fairly predictable.  I wasn't really worried that Jackson wouldn't get those apples to grow.

There were many parts of this book that felt a little too good to be true.  The author's note explains that Mr. Hawkins based the book on his experiences working in an orchard as a child, but the story is completely made up.  I certainly learned a thing or two about growing apples!

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