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The Accident Season


The Accident Season

Good stories start right in the middle of things; you don’t get bogged down by exposition but you’re also not confused or dissatisfied. Look at HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE;  J.K. Rowling starts the book not when Harry is first dropped off at the Dursleys or when Voldemort first rises to power. Instead, she chooses a later point and reveals all the exposition slowly and throughout the course of the series. It's what makes the series shine. We know just enough to get settled in the world and fall into step behind the characters. 

That's what I kept thinking about as I read THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moira Fowley-Doyle. The novel starts right where it should with Cara noticing that a childhood friend of hers, Elsie, appears in every picture she's ever taken. But that's not the only mystery of the novel. The narrative begins right in the beginning of the titular Accident Season, a period when Cara's family falls prone to small bumps and bruises and bigger accidents. It's been this way for as long as Cara can remember. Even her ex-stepbrother has felt the effects of it. And as the Accident Season unravels, so do the secrets that Cara's family --- her mother, her sister, Alice and ex-stepbrother, Sam --- has been keeping. 

I mentioned that I think this story starts where it should because I think that with everything going on in the book, so many entry points and plots, it could have started anywhere. And I'm so glad Fowley-Doyle started where she did; it was the perfect introduction to the characters with the mention of a girl in some photographs, a point that branches out to weave a perfect tangled web around all other story lines. It even comes back to a great, if open-ended, conclusion. The author wants this book to linger rather than conclude and she does just that.

The setting weaves itself around the narrative just as the secrets do.

THE ACCIDENT SEASON was so tantalizing. Every moment keeps you guessing. I loved the idea of the secret’s booth, where students from Cara’s high school can type up something they’ve kept hidden and release it into a box. The students’ secrets juxtaposed with Cara’s family’s secrets, together with the mysterious accident season and Cara’s enigmatic photos combined in a way that kept me interested nad guessing the entire time. I also loved the atmosphere of THE ACCIDENT SEASON. Set in early October in a town outside of Galway, Ireland, this book sucks you in right away. The setting weaves itself around the narrative just as the secrets do.

Another thing that I really enjoy about this book is that each character has as much of a part to play as the narrator --- it’s what makes THE ACCIDENT SEASON come together so well. The relationships too are so well drawn. Sam and Cara’s stumbling around each other was so realistic.

I have mixed feelings about how a particular part of the book was handled. Without giving too much away, I’m glad that the issue was discussed and I almost wish there was more of it. But by the end of the book, there was such a cathartic release, every secret was revealed and dealt with. The ending, unlike in some books, was highly satisfying. By the end I finally felt I was able to take a deep breath and relax, as the tension of the final pages had been resolved.

This is a book that might not work for everyone, I understand that. But it is beautifully atmospheric, with settled and real characters. It combined an intriguing premise with magical realism to make for a highly successful novel.

Reviewed by Brianna Robinson on October 27, 2015

The Accident Season
by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Speak
  • ISBN-10: 014751732X
  • ISBN-13: 9780147517326