Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Rating: ☆☆ (More a 2.5)
Purchase: The Book Depository / Waterstones
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?
Ahh this novel was so difficult for me to rate because I enjoyed most of it but was just thrown of in confusion by other elements. The novel's central focus is set during this time known to the main character's family as 'the accident season.' When reading the blurb for this book, this was definitely an element that I found to be extremely intriguing! A whole season where accidents of an unknown origin happen to a seemingly ordinary family but don't happen to anyone else? Was it all psychological and in their heads or are they actually cursed? I was so eager to find out and while I did enjoy parts of this story, unfortunately I found myself to be a little disappointed with the turn of events that took place and just felt like I was craving that little bit extra from the story that sadly we didn't get. But enough of my moaning for now, what were my initial thoughts about the book? Well..
For me the novel started off really well. The premise intrigued me as I've already mentioned and the writing style had me hooked from the beginning. Fowley-Doyle's writing is very fluid and lyrical which makes for a really enjoyable read. All of her descriptions were very scenic and I had no problem picturing the places they were in and the people they met. The characters seemed to be liable enough and the plot actually seemed to be going somewhere. Although we were introduced to this idea of 'the accident season' we also got kind of a mystery subplot that dealt with who Elsie's character was and why she was in all of Cara's photographs. This was something that was introduced in the first few pages and progressed really well. The direction that the Elsie plot took was for me really intriguing and very interesting to read about, but I think my issue with it was that I figured out the reveal to who Elise was quite early on. Unfortunately that took away a little bit of the intrigue and mystery behind everything the rest of the story had to offer as I just wasn't as interested knowing I already knew the ending. What did save the plot ever so slightly was Elsie's involvement with 'the accident season' itself - it kind of answered the questions I had at the beginning of the novel about how it originated.
However around the 60% of the way through this novel, the direction took a very different turn and in my opinion it started to spiral out of control. For me the relationships between the characters started to become very forced and felt slightly immature and I wasn't a fan at all at how they panned out. Their relationship with Alice just felt very unrealistic and quite upsetting to read about. The characters themselves (besides Alice) started to feel blunt and quite flat in comparison to the first half of the novel. Like they were introduced really well and their character development really started to progress but then after the half way mark it was if there wasn't much more too them so we weren't exposed to their full potential and for me this was a slight let down. Unfortunately I wasn't really feeling the relationship that was beginning to blossom in this novel. It was nice to see that the author was branching out by utilising a LGBT relationship in the novel (and I fully support that idea) but I just felt that it was ever so slightly undeveloped in this book. There wasn't much substance to it so it left me feeling kind of underwhelmed if I'm honest. Overall I thought that the ideas that were brought up were really neat and I did enjoy where it was going but the author just seemed to pile us with information after information and scenes that just spoil the enjoyment for me. There was so much hype built up for this halloween party in the haunted house and then even those scenes just let me down. It all felt very detached and disjointed from the first half of the book which was a shame.
Also this book explores an ending very similar to another book I've read recently and that being 'We Were Liars' by E Lockhart. The ending scenario is very similar in feeling with the tone of the story being so suspenseful and the twist being quite dramatic and out there. Saying this however, knowing there is a twist might unsettle some readers, making them eager for something that overall might not quite live up to their expectations. I was lucky enough to go into this book quite blind, without knowing anything and unfortunately as previously mentioned I found myself to be quite disappointed. On the other hand, the tone that Fowley-Doyle took with Alice's character really did move me and it was interesting to see how her character was handled in that scenario.
Overall, even though I've highlighted the flaws and disappointments I found in this book, I'd still read this book again. It's strange to describe but because the writing was so lyrical and fluid and the twist was quite suspenseful theres something about this book thats begging me to give it a re-read. Perhaps because it's because I really wanted to enjoy this book, I don't know. It could be because the praise it's given is so unique and credited that I want to learn why exactly the book got such high ratings - perhaps theres some undertones that I'm just not picking up on. Perhaps I'm just cynical. However don't listen to all of my grumbles because it could just be me and as I said there is a lot of praise for this book, and for what I can see it seems to worth it, but for me there was just something lacking in this book. Something that all of the description and suspense had built up to, later to just find myself upset and misunderstood with. I award The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle a 2 out of 5 star rating, although it definitely leans more towards the 3 so I'm going to give it a 2.5.