28 October 2015

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

I went in to this book not quite knowing what to expect. It's a contemporary but the blurb and even the prologue gave me these otherworldly feels, for a bit I even thought it was hinting at a dystopian novel but what it actually is, I can't put in to words.

"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?

Do people get to this time of year and think, I really need a Halloween read? If so, then I would recommend this book to you. I only gave it a 2 star rating on the basis that it's not really my thing. I enjoyed reading it, and I can see why other people would enjoy it, but I've never been a fan of ghost stories (it all started a few years back when I read some James Herbert and I was like, welp, I'm never reading ghost stories again, this is messed up) and I like paranormal to the extent of aliens and vampires.

I love that it plays on superstitions. Every year, for a month, this family suffers through the accident season, which is exactly like it sounds. For one month, this family is a lot more accident-prone and clumsier than normal but then Cara's tarot reading friend Bea says this one will be the worst year yet. It started out so well, I was curious to see what accidents would happen, and what accidents had happened in the past to make this month such a burden for the family. I was not disappointed, and without spoilers, I loved the dark secrets from various family members and the build up of this book.  It wasn't like one of those books where it kept mentioning the secrets in an obvious dangly way, like "something really bad happened but I won't tell you about it until the second last chapter" - we're given snippets of secrets revealed to us throughout the novel and the intensity and severity of them only get worse and worse as more of the past comes to light. I was not disappointed and some of it was even unexpected, I do like it when a novel pulls the wool over you.

The writing is beautiful. I actually think this could be more of a fiction book because the writing is so lyrical and unlike other young adult novels I've read. It feels older and maturer but it still manages to sound like a teenage girl (albeit, I believe Cara is seventeen, but still a teenager nonetheless). What I didn't enjoy is the blurring of real life in to this otherworld or ghost-town. I'm cynical, bitter and do not believe in ghosts or tarot reading and all of that so it's hard for me to understand why the characters would let those sort of things influence their life. Unexplained things in the novel get cast in a supernatural way when there is probably a logical explanation. Obviously, this book is not about the logical and wants to create that paranormal atmosphere, so it succeeds in itself, if nothing else. It's eerie, I'll give you that, and I didn't think for one second to put the book down because I was sick of it but I did do a few eye rolls.

I still can't decide if I'd read another novel by Moira Fowley-Doyle yet. As much as I loved the writing,  I think The Accident Season is written for a particular audience, and I don't think I fall under that category.

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