I should probably call this a "not-review" as this book actually put me in a bad mood, to the extent that I probably can't give a fair critique of it. Richard Milward's Apples follows two teenagers in Middlesbrough, Adam, who has OCD, few friends, and is physically abused by his dad; and the distant object of his affection, Eve, who has a lot of friends but is constantly to be found drunk, on pills and/or sleeping around and whose mother is dying of lung cancer. It's described as tragicomic and while there's a few funny moments and Milward has a nice turn of phrase, I found it pretty unremittingly bleak. Even moments of whimsy, like a passage narrated by a butterfly, have a miserable edge (the butterfly gets eaten and ends its narration in screaming agony.) Overall it left me miserable every time I picked it up, so I don't feel I can give a fair account of the story or writing style.
Still, on the plus side: My own teenage years were very lonely, most of my time outside school being spent on my own with my nose in a book, and meant by the time I got to University I had no social skills whatsoever; but compared to the lives in this book they seemed halcyon in retrospect.