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The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle - Review

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where did I get it? I bought it, it was on the Carnegie shortlist last year which I'm slowly making my way through. 

What's it about? Cara is seventeen and lives somewhere close to Galway in the west of Ireland. She mostly hangs out with her sister, Alice, who is a year older, their friend Bea who is witchy and magical, and their ex-stepbrother, Sam, who is also seventeen. Sam is an ex-stepbrother because his father, Christopher, left a few years ago, but Sam is still being raised with the girls by their artist mother. 

Every year, around October, the family enters what their mother calls the accident season. Sometimes it's just been broken bones and cuts and bruises, but some years it's been worse, like when Cara's dad died, or when their uncle died. Their mother protects the children by wrapping the house in bubble wrap and making sure they always wrap up warm. But still, accidents happen. 

Meanwhile, Cara has been thinking about their schoolfriend Elsie, who runs a secret booth at school, where people type their secrets out on an old typewriter and put them in a wooden box. She hasn't been around in a while, but bits of her are showing up in all of Cara's photos - an arm, a shoe, her hair. No one at school seems to know where she is, so Cara and Bea break into the office to find Elsie's address. When they visit, they find an old abandoned house and immediately fall in love with it.

The whole book is a mixture of reality and unreality, set in a very contemporary background in Ireland. I liked that it was set in Ireland actually, especially as I visited last year and could imagine the setting perfectly. I'd like to read more YA set in Ireland! Bea likes to pretend to do magic, but Cara is actually magical in parts. I liked the feeling of not knowing which bits were true, so even though this kind of book isn't usually my thing, I really loved it and have already pre-ordered Moira's second book which is out in July.

I never read Goodreads reviews (I'm here, add me!) before I've finished the book, because I try to not have my views coloured by other people's opinions. I read through a few after finishing the book and a lot of people said that they didn't like the ending, felt it was unsatisfactory, or didn't get it. I completely understand this point of view, but I felt the ending was satisfactory and in keeping with the rest of the novel. I really liked the book and it made me think more about my own fantasy novel, which is similar in tone. 

What age range is it for? 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, no spoilers though. I also really liked the kisses between Cara and Bea, they added a lot about their friendship I think

Are any main characters people of colour? No

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Kind of and not quite? That's all I'm going to say I think

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, it's a little bit explicit

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, milder stuff

Is there any talk of death? Yes, be careful

Are there swear words? Very few

Would I recommend the book? Yes, definitely

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was tidying up and found the Carnegie books that I haven't read yet and picked this up because the cover appealed to me!

What other books is it like? Lots of people have compared it to We Were Liars by E Lockhart, and I definitely think that is an apt comparison. I also think it's what I would've liked The Graces by Laure Eve to be. 

How many stars? Nine out of ten. Very compelling and extremely bright.


Where is the book going now? I'll keep it, but first I want to lend it to my friend Stacey as I think she'll love it!

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