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The Accident Season Paperback – August 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Triple layers of protective clothing, padded furniture, knives locked away, and the gas turned off. It's October, the accident season for Cara's family, but all her mother's precautions will not be enough to protect them from the cuts, bruises, broken bones, or worse. Cara's sprained wrist and her sister Alice's concussion are minor compared to previous years, though Bea's tarot cards indicate that this will be one of the worst accident seasons yet. Cara has just discovered that her elusive former friend, Elsie, mysteriously appears in every photo in her scrapbook, past and present. Unfortunately, Elsie has disappeared from her usual spot in the school library and, other than Cara's best friend Bea and her ex-stepbrother Sam, no one seems to know who she is. As the last week of October commences, finding Elsie takes on a sense of urgency for Cara, who senses she may somehow be connected to the yearly turmoil in her family's lives. With Halloween fast approaching, all the horror of accident seasons past begins coming back to haunt them, and the lies and secrets that each family member has locked away gradually come to light. Similar in style to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic (Putnam, 1995), Fowley-Doyle's stunning debut novel weaves the temporal and the spiritual into a seamless reality, rich in emotional impact. Devastating loss and abuse are balanced by romance, teen hijinks, and spine-tingling discoveries. Provocative content adds to the intensity and will keep readers riveted. VERDICT This thought-provoking narrative will cast its spell over older teens and adults alike.—Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
* "Fowley-Doyle’s stunning debut novel weaves the temporal and the spiritual into a seamless reality, rich in emotional impact. Devastating loss and abuse are balanced by romance, teen hijinks, and spine-tingling discoveries . . . This thought-provoking narrative will cast its spell over older teens and adults alike."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Ghosts, secrets, and magic collide in this Irish author's astonishing debut . . . a moving portrait of a fractured family, knitting itself back together with courage and love. A powerful novel from an exciting new talent."—Kirkus, starred review
“Amazing.”—Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author
"Atmospheric and magical."—VOYA
"Sensuous, eerie, lyrical . . . Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season reads like a poem. The mystery is intriguing, the writing is gorgeous, and the characters are vivid. A lovely debut."—April Tulcholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
"Readers will be swept away by Fowley-Doyle’s lyrical writing andentrancing premise in this tale of forbidden love and magic."—Booklist
"A lyrical and sometimes chilling exploration of the ways in which we manipulate memories to fall in line with our present narrative—the lies we tell ourselves to keep our brains safe and happy. Cara’s narration brilliantly, sometimes brutally conveys the unraveling of both Cara and her family . . . and the bittersweet ending will haunt readers as much it does Cara."—BCCB
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I picked this up thinking it was going to be another great YA read. The premise sounded very interesting and I went into it ready for a great story. I have to say I was disappointed. It started out ok but then I found myself disinterested and lost to a lot of what was happening. The main characters become annoying very quickly and I found myself skimming more and more the further I read. Maybe this was just a little unusual for my taste, but I did not enjoy it. There were several points where it seemed like the author wasn’t sure what genre she was writing. It went in one direction and then would switch and then back again. For a YA, the themes went in the wrong direction for me and I was turned off by the harsh language, that may not bother a lot of people but for me, with YA especially, I prefer not to read that. While this was an original story with an interesting premise it just didn’t work for me. I know a lot of people have really loved it, I just can’t say I did.
Cara and her family experience what they call "the accident season," which means that for the month of October, they're all more accident prone. Scrapes, broken bones, near misses, and tragedies.
Cara's also trying to track down Elsie, a girl she used to be friends with, but whom no one outside her family remembers. Is it coincidence that all her photos all shown Elsie, flitting at the corners?
This book is almost perfect. It's lyrical and shot through with magic, and each of the main characters ring true. Cara's family has secrets, lots of them, but it doesn't mean that they're not close, and you can feel that love throughout the entire novel.
I just wanted the mysteries more solidly resolved, a little less ambiguous
Mystery and otherworldliness paint the atmosphere of this story. Early on it's clear the characters are keeping secrets from themselves and each other. To work the secrets out, readers have to be able to read between the lines and read between those lines, too. The bond between Cara and Sam makes them the easiest characters to connect with, but it's hard to empathize with them when they make one dangerous choice after another. Readers looking for a spooky Halloween book will find one here.
Spoiler Alert: After reading other reviews on The Accident Season, I feel the need to point out that the main focus of the story is not on Cara and Sam's relationship or even on the awful stepfather, but on the entire strangeness of events happening, now and in the past, to Cara's family members, seperately and as a group. The mom explains Elsie towards the end of the story, even though she doesn't want to believe it herself.
But the book lost momentum midway, and incidents were included Just Because. Do I really need to watch the main character buy a Halloween costume? And of COURSE the shop can't be found later. A deserted mansion nobody knew about appears much too conveniently. Had the impression the author didn't know where it was going either and threw everything in-- dreamcatchers in the woods, etc.
The mystery of Elsie in every photograph, a girl whom nobody seems to know, is also introduced oddly. It's her house that is the mansion and who she is is just blindingly obvious.
Cara may be an unreliable narrator in the end but after I finished there were loads of incidents that were never explained. In "We Were Liars" when you know what happened you can reread the book and everything snaps into place. Not so here. The writing was dense and often lovely but ultimately it was a disappointing story.