Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Title: The Accident Season

Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle

Publication date: August 18, 2015

Pages: 288

Every year during October, Cara and her family are inexplicably prone to accident and injury. They ban anything too hot or too sharp, cover every hard surface and sharp corner with padding, and try to make it through each school day without fuss. Still, cuts and bruises become a way of life, though those are the least of their worries this year. Classmate Elsie has gone missing, and no one seems to remember she even exists. As Cara unravels the Elsie mystery, she also comes closer and closer to discovering the source of her family’s curse.

This book is not what I expected. I figured there would be a witch, definitely a ghost or two, and maybe even a Great Moral Lesson for what exactly is causing so much trouble for this family.

This book is all of that and none of that.

First of all, Fowley-Doyle’s writing is absolutely stunning. This is a slow burn of a story, which can be off-putting for some people, but I found myself incredibly intrigued by the magic woven in each word. By description alone the story sounds like it would be scary, but it’s not. It’s triumph and tragedy wrapped up in an eerie little package, and the fact that it refuses to pigeonhole itself into any particular category really works. I’ve never felt as haunted by a book as I was this one.

The characters are all really solid, too. Everyone is just a tiny bit off and unpredictable. Our protagonist, Cara, is very sweet. She wants the best for her family and sees the good in people and situations, but often ignores the obvious warning signs that something is wrong. Alice, her older sister, will break your heart. There’s clearly something going on with her, but it takes a long time for it all to come to light, because she’s so good at pretending and everyone else is good at letting her pretend and even allowing themselves to believe it. Sam, their ex-stepbrother, is a rock that grounds them all. It’s painful to watch him break. And Cara’s spooky best friend Bea is the glue that holds them together, even when she can’t keep herself from falling apart.

I can’t say too much, because even though there are things you see coming, the way the whole story comes together is beautiful to watch. The story is told from Cara’s point of view, and with that comes her imagination. There is sometimes no indication as to when her reality slides into the unreal, though that’s kind of the point. As a reader, you’re never sure what exactly is real and what’s not, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

HEADS UP: There is some potentially triggering content, though it’s not at all graphic and more heavily implied than anything else. Also, there is a particular relationship that may be a little weird for some, so if you’re unsure, you may want to spoil yourself just a teensy bit ahead of time. Even so, knowing what happens doesn’t make the writing any less beautiful.

You’ll have to determine for yourself whether this is your particular cup of tea. That said, it’s definitely mine.

Let me know what you think!


Want to check out The Accident Season? Find it on the CMRLS catalog and put it on hold!