Joy & Stan Delaney, retired couple living together, are a little bored. They used to run a tennis school that got them busy, but they already sold it. Their adult children, Logan, Troy, Amy & Brooke – all already have lives of their own.
One ordinary evening a stranger knocked on their door. They let her in, fed her and let her stay in Amy’s old bedroom. Her name is Savannah, and Joy adored her. Savannah cooked great meals and she’s really a good company for both Joy & Stan.
The siblings, Joy & Stan’s children, (Brooke, Logan, Troy & Amy) were hesitant about Savannah since she is a total stranger, she might be a scammer. Savannah said she knocked randomly on the house because she had a good feeling about it. She recently got into a fight with her boyfriend and he ended up hitting her, that’s why she had a wound near her brows.
They let Savannah stay for months, but the siblings started digging facts about Savannah. It turns out she was no stranger at all – she was Harry Haddad‘s younger sister. Harry is who Stan considered as the star player, he became famous as a tennis player. Stan discovered him and was his coach, and when his career took off, Harry’s dad decided to change his coach. That really hurt Stan. As for Savannah, the Delaney’s didn’t know she existed.
Truth was – Savannah didn’t knock on the Delaney’s house randomly. She came there for revenge because of what they did to her as a child. Their parents got divorced, Harry went with his dad and Savannah, with her mom. While Harry is being trained to be a tennis player, Savannah was practicing ballet where she was starved. So on one time she and her mother went to the Delaney’s so they could pick up Harry, she went inside to ask for food. Brooke yelled at her for eating her banana, Logan and Troy was also rude to her (one chased her out for opening the fridge, the other almost hit her with the racket although unintentionally). She asked for Amy to make her a sandwich (it wasn’t mentioned if she made her one). Joy was in a middle of a breakdown and slammed the door on Savannah when she tried to open it.
The Delaney’s were all stunned because of this revelation, they felt guilty but not everyone was sorry because afterall, Savannah was really there to scam them. She blackmailed Troy for money, claiming that Stan made a pass on her and she needs money to make sure she won’t tell Joy. Troy gave her money and Stan was so angry because he never made a pass on Savannah, he was disappointed at Troy for believing her.
After the truth was revealed, it was time for Savannah to go but before she left, she revealed something: it wasn’t their Dad’s decision to drop Stan as Harry’s coach – it was Joy’s.
Stan walked out. The siblings confronted their mom on why she did it – she said she wanted the best coach for her own children, and not for Harry.
After Savannah’s revelation, Joy & Stan rarely talked and has been sleeping on separate bedrooms. When Harry’s memoir arrived, they also had another bigger confrontation where Joy ended up scratching Stan. As usual, Stan walked away.
When Stan went home, Joy was already gone. This led to a police investigation because she has been gone for 3 weeks already. They also found a bloody shirt that belonged to Joy. The police considered the scratches on Stan and the cctv footage where he was carrying something heavy into his car. The police were just about to arrest Stan – then Joy appeared in the doorway. Stan and Joy hugged – he cried.
Truth was after the fight, Joy felt like she should also go away. Just in time, Savannah called telling her that she read Harry’s memoir. Harry was actually told that Savannah has cancer and he should do well with tennis to save her. Savannah didn’t know about this and felt guilty for hating her brother all this time. She decided to do something for him – which is to participate in the off grid challenge for 21 days. Joy went with her. Sent a text to her children before leaving her phone behind, but that text didn’t make sense because she typed it without her glasses on. She also left a detailed letter for Stan – but it fell and their dog ate it.
The cctv footage was actually Stan getting rid of the carpet that Joy always hated. The bloody shirt was really Joy’s blood when she got injured, but their neighbor’s cat probably took it.
Thte author talked about how the characters are dealing with the pandemic.
The last chapters were about Savannah, going back to see her mother which she actually locked up before she left – leaving her a limited supply of bottled water and protein bars.
The End of Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty.