The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
For fans of We Were Liars and How I Live Now comes a haunting, sexy, magically realistic debut about a famiy caught between a violent history, a taboo romance, and the mysteries lurking in their own backyard.
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season--when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17--is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.
Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season--whether she’s ready or not.
What I Liked:
This book. Blew. My. Mind. There aren't a lot of ACTUAL magical realism novels in YA - there are a lot of fantasy, paranormal, etc., but magical realism is difficult to find. I'm a huge fan of Latin American magical realism - my second major is Spanish, and a focus of the literature I study has been magical realism, and Gabriel García Márquez (RIP, yo!). This book was everything that makes magical realism what it is, and yet it was an engaging and haunting Young Adult story that is a classic for the ages.
The accident season has begun, in which Cara, her mother, her sister Alice, and her ex-stepbrother Sam, are at their most accident-prone. No matter how many layers of clothing, how many precautions with cutlery, machinery, tables, etc., accidents seem to happen around the month of October, and this year, it will be bad. Cara, Alice, Sam, and Cara's best friend Bea are perplexed by the disappearance of a girl at school. Meanwhile, they're trying to throw the biggest Halloween party in the town. But Cara is going to learn some truths that she might not be ready to learn, and the truth behind the accident season is one of them.
I don't even know how to coherently write this review. I knew next to nothing about this book, before reading. I'd never even heard of it to be honest, but the publisher sent it to me unsolicited, and I decided to give it a shot. This is a psychological thriller magical realism mind-boggling novel that I can't even sum up or describe properly. WOAH!
I like Cara. This book is written in her first-person point-of-view. She is caring and intelligent, and she's a dreamer and a reader. She starts to see changelings and fairies, but as with magical realism, this isn't a worrisome thing to Cara. A classmate of Cara's goes missing, and Cara sees her everywhere, yet nowhere. Cara is tenacious, and kind, and a bit naive too.
The secondary characters are interesting and unique characters as well. Alice, Cara's older sister by a year, has a boyfriend who is four years older than her. He doesn't seem like the nicest guy, but Alice doesn't want to break up with him. Bea, Cara's best friend, is a bit eccentric - she read cards, and is often compared to a witch. Sam, Cara's ex-stepbrother, is related to her at all. His father and her mother married years ago, but then his father left her mother, but he lives with the family.
I like Sam a lot! He and Cara are best friends, and they trust and depend on each other so much. When Cara confides in him about the disappearance of the girl whom no one seems to know, or about the changelings, Sam believes her. Sam is a good guy! He has a secret and it's eating at him, but eventually, he goes after what he wants.
The story is so interesting and compelling, and mind-blowing. The accident season seems real, yet it seems like coincidences. Which is it? What "causes" the accident season? Is it related to the disappearance of the girl at school? Everything is connected, in the most twisty way... you need to get to the last pages to find out everything! Even when you think you know everything, you don't!
There is romance in this novel! A couple pairs have romance going on. Nick and Alice are a pair, but they have drama going on from the start. Bea has her own secret pertaining to romance, as does Sam, and Cara. But NO LOVE TRIANGLE! And I love how the couples pair out! Cara's romance is slow-burn and sweet and I love it!
The writing is BEAUTIFUL. Lyrical, almost like poetry, but not poetry at all. The scenes are descriptive but not paragraph-long descriptions. The imagery is stunning, and it wasn't hard to picture the magical elements in my mind, even if they were a bit out there. I LOVE the author's writing style!
Overall, this book was STUNNING. Haunting, slightly creepy, totally engrossing, and very original and unique. The magical realism aspect is stunning! And the story is thrilling. It ends very well, very surprising, and very satisfying. This is a debut?! Hard to believe, because this lady is quite the writer!
What I Did Not Like:
I know I'm giving this book four stars, but I didn't really find anything that I didn't like in particular? Maybe I wanted a little more from the physical side of the romance, though the chemistry was there, and very slow-burn, in this novel. Otherwise, meh! Loved it!
Would I Recommend It:
I would totally recommend this book, to just about anyone! It's magical realism at its finest, in terms of modern-day magical realism (which I haven't seen much of, in Young Adult literature). This book would never have caught my attention, to be honest, but I'm glad the publisher sent me a copy! You don't have to be a magical realism, psychological thriller fan. Give this book a chance!
4.5 stars -> rounding down to 4 stars but really, this book is a favorite of the year. It was nothing like I expected - I don't even know what I expected! I knew nothing about this book, but I'm glad I read it. It is magical and surrealistic and yet, totally realistic. I'll be looking out for more novels from this author!
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