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CJ Reviews The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident SeasonTitle: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Format: Advanced Reading Copy
Rating: 4 stars

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? (Goodreads)

I really knew nothing about this book before I picked up an ARC sitting in the breakroom of the bookstore where I work. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had already passed up one opportunity to receive an ARC, but when I saw it sitting there decided to give a try anyway. And then it sat on my TBR shelf for quite a while. I’m glad I finally made time to read it.

First of all, this is a stand-alone novel. In a world where nearly every YA novel has to be part of a trilogy or duology, it’s really nice to read a stand-alone novel that has a beginning, middle, and end, and I don’t have to wait a year to find out what happens to these characters next. While I enjoy the series that I do read, every once in a while it’s nice to read a book that just stands on it’s own.

The second thing this novel had going for it was the fact that it was set in Ireland. While the setting didn’t necessarily impact the story – it could have been set anywhere – I have a soft place in my heart for anything Irish. If I had realized this was the setting sooner, it may not have taken as long for me to read this book. I loved that the characters occasionally went shopping in Galway – I loved my time in Galway and this made me wish I was back there.

“Elsie is in all my pictures. I know this because I have looked through all the pictures
of me and my family taken in the last seventeen years and she is in them all.”  

As for the story itself, I really enjoyed it right from the opening paragraph (above). These two sentences drew me in immediately and I couldn’t put the book down. What I really loved about this opening paragraph is that this is the mystery (or one of them) carried all through the novel. Opening sentences are always important, but they aren’t always as integral to the plot of the novel as this one is. I really liked how the author grabs you right away with this mysterious revelation, then continues the journey through the novel as you learn who Elsie is and join the characters in learning how she ended up in every single one of those photographs.

There are several interconnecting plots weaved through this novel, with some fairly serious themes present – I don’t really want to list them here or it may ruin some of the story, but there are definitely some heavy topics dealt with in this novel and I thought the author handled them well. These characters all have a lot of history and a lot that went into making them who they are; I really appreciated how well-developed they were.

I also really loved the magical realism in this novel. As some of you may have surmised from previous reviews (or Top Ten lists), I am a big fan of Sarah Addison Allen. I love her style of writing and the way she just casually weaves the magical elements of her story in with the realistic elements. I think magical realism may be one of my favorite subgenres, as I just love the charm and whimsy of these novels. The Accident Season had a very similar feel in a lot of ways. The author’s style isn’t exactly the same, but I was reminded of Allen’s writing as I read this book.

The romance of the novel was a little predictable, but I didn’t mind it as it was not the focus on the story and more just a background complement. If I had any criticism it would just be that it felt like things wrapped up a little too quickly in the end, but aside from that I felt the story was very well told and enjoyable. This was the fastest I’ve read a book in months, and it felt good to just completely dive into another world for a while.

If you like magical realism (with a hint of romance) as much as I do, then I definitely recommend this book. It was a quick, but enjoyable read.

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