Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: The Accident Season (Moira Fowley-Doyle)

The Accident Season
Title: The Accident Season
Series: standalone
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle (site)
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Contemporary Mystery
Told: First Person (Cara), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (heavy teen drinking & smoking & partying, minor drugs, hinted & flashback child abuse (probably sexual) and cutting and attempted suicide, adult abuse, sensuality, some language, violence)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
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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.

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Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Penguin!

Three Words: Spooky. Lyrical. Heavy.

I must start off by saying this was not my kind of read. I like my stories on the lighter side and shy away from heavy, depressing content, and this was most definitely a heavy and depressing story. However, it was also highly imaginative and somewhat beautiful, and I think it might prove a rather breathtaking read for those who enjoy darker contemporary stories with paranormal elements.

The Story

This book was essentially three stories in one: a mystery, a ghost story, and a romance that wove together seamlessly even as they flowed separately.

The mystery was one of accidents and tragedies, secrets and highly troubled emotions. It was a crumbling house of abuse and trauma and loss and neglect, and explored how people cope differently with things they can't handle or accept with love, obsession, dismissal, sometimes even more of the same. Thankfully most of the abuse was compressed into half-remembered memories and vague accounts or embellished with wild imaginings, but the raw emotions still punched through. It was rather depressing and a bit disturbing, but the revelations saw the onset of healing.

The ghost story was strange but unique with a confusing beginning, surreal end, and spooky and magical journey between. While its logic made little sense overall, it was haunting and bewitching and the best part of the book for me.

The romance focused not on one relationship but several that were diverse and passionate and poignant and complicated. They were struggles of the heart and the soul and the mind and transcended family and gender and convention. All the love proved rather messy and painful, but blessedly a little peace was found in the end.

The Characters

Thanks to their secret traumas and passions, all the characters in this book (but especially the teens) were seriously messed up. To cope, the teens smoked, drank, partied, took crazy risks and did crazy things. Once the secrets began unfolding though it was harder to fault their behavior, and once it was over I really couldn't blame them for continuing well past the final page. Cara was an imaginative but disorienting narrator due to her otherworldly visions and fondness for liquor, but as the most innocent of mind and soul she was the best point of view character for the tale and her fanciful imaginings added a dark and heady magic to the story.

The Writing

The writing was vivid and disorienting, lyrical and disjointed. Sometimes it was a little too much, but it flickered whimsical and creepy images through my mind. Time was sometimes a slippery thing, and with it movement - a moment could drag on for pages, only to jump from one place or time to another without warning in just a few words. It left me confused on several occasions as I found myself unsure where we were or what we were doing, but the disconcerting atmosphere also added to the mystery and magic when things seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Overall I was able to follow the story well enough, and rather enjoyed the shift and blend of reality and whimsy.

Conclusion: I picked up this book for the magic and got even more than I'd hoped for, but the heavy contemporary content weighed me down much more than I prefer. If it hadn't been for review I wouldn't have finished it, but now that it's over I guess I'm glad I saw it through, if only to answer the mystery of the accident season. Recommend for paranormal contemporary lovers who enjoy unusual, imaginative reads with heavier content.

Diverse Elements: Irish setting and characters; bisexual characters and romances

For Fans Of: heavy contemporaries with paranormal elements

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

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