Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis
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.



The Accident Season was one of those books I liked but didn't love. It was a strange read with flashes of beauty and brilliance and shades of darkness, but I felt disconnected while reading it.
I didn't really know much about The Accident Season going in except what I read in the synopsis and I really think that's the best way to go into this novel. Also, it's not easy to summarize it. There were things happening, and nothing really comes together until the very end when we finally get the full picture. It's a magical realism novel so there were elements of strange events that happened that you couldn't quite explain. I often wondered if they were happening in real life or were they all in Cara Morris's imagination or there's actually magic so, in that case, ghosts and monsters.

Cara was telling the story in a first-person narrative and right from the start you can tell there was something off about her. She was supposed to be a junior in high school but she acted younger, less mature than her age. She had a child-like innocence about her, which was opposite from her older sister Alice (who was a year older than Cara) and who was more of an old soul and was carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders. Bea, Cara's best friend, fit right along with the Morris sisters. She's the "weird" girl in school and never without her tarot cards--she consults them every morning because she never wants to be taken unaware. As for Sam, Cara and Alice's ex-stepbrother (his dad and the girls' mom were married and then separated but Sam still lives with them), I felt he was the least fleshed out of the four of them. He was around a lot, but he didn't really show much personality and his character felt removed from the three girls until the last few chapters. Maybe that was intentional because Cara was pushing him away for reasons I don't want to give away. 

But the whole thing between Cara and Sam was actually my favorite bit in the novel. I loved them together. They grew up together in the same house so they were close and had an easy relationship. When they were little, I loved how Sam would always side with Cara and back her up, even though he would leave Alice sadly on her own. I loved all their scenes together. My favorite scene was when Cara and Sam finally talked and told each other what they've been keeping back. It was a long-time coming and I thought that scene was perfectly written. Also, the ending was perfect--there were a couple of unanswered questions but it was very satisfying and appealed to my HEA-loving self. I loved where Cara, Alice, Bea and Sam were by the end.

My least favorite thing about The Accident Season was how the cigarette smoking and drinking was treated. The characters were so casual about it. Well, they were hiding the smoking and most of the heavy drinking from their parents, but for the most part it was so very careless and offhand. There was no real repercussion from the all the heavy drinking and cigarette smoking. I wasn't comfortable with that.

I enjoyed the story overall but there was a disconnect throughout and I couldn't quite get into it as much as I would've liked. The beginning was really exciting, when were learning about what the accident season was and things that happened in the past. But I hit a hump in the middle when nothing was really happening and I lost momentum. Then, it got really good again in the end when all the action was happening--holy crap, that scene with the fire was intense!--and everything was finally coming together. The writing was really good, very lyrical and expressive. There were some lines in there that were so quotable that I wish I had some tabs or a highlighter on hand so I could mark the pages. But there were also times when I'd have to reread a paragraph again because I couldn't quite make sense of it the first time. Basically, The Accident Season was not the kind of book you can just breeze through and be done. It required absorption and reflection, and since I'm always pressed for time, I didn't have that time to just let it all sink in. I think it's the kind of book you need to reread to really get everything.

The Accident Season is not for everybody. But, if you enjoy magical realism, then you should definitely pick up The Accident Season. I think it will very much appeal to you. If you want a different kind of read, one that makes you question what is going on and that is, at times, dark but with strong elements of family, friendship and love, definitely check out The Accident Season. If you're looking for a quick read, then The Accident Season is probably not what you're looking for.

1 comment

  1. I feel like I still don't have an understanding on what this book is about!

    Ugh, excessive cigarette smoking and drinking. That is a hard one because I understand that authors want to make the teens seem realistic (and quite a few of the teens in my family and that I know partake in cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol), but then again....they shouldn't be so prominent in books where teens feel like they SHOULD be doing these things.

    Hmmmm

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