The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Received from NetGalley for review.

So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season,
To the river beneath us where we sink our souls,
To the bruises and secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling,
One more drink for the watery road

I have the most intense book hangover; heart pounding and mind reeling and emotions all over the place. This book is so intense, in the best way. It’s all heat and blood, magic and wondering what reality is, kisses in the dark and feeling so high on life. Creepy, dreamy, magical and surreal.

The Accident Season is a glorious mixture of magical realism, fantasy, mystery, and contemporary, all bundled up into a young adult masterpiece. It’s not necessarily a pleasant or fun book, but it is a magnificent reading experience, full of youth, longing and deep secrets. The story focuses on sisters Alice and Cara, their stepbrother Sam, and best friend Bea. Every October the siblings face ‘the accident season’, where they become inexplicably accident prone – sometimes it’s a good season and there are a few cuts and scrapes, maybe a broken bone. But some years it can be tragic, hearts can be broken and people can die. Flashback to past accidents show us the kind of things that used to happen and how it only affected the siblings and their closest family. The story becomes so much than this, though; there is an overwhelming theme of family, relationships, secrets, healing and love, and it is all so beautifully done.

Multiple mysteries are woven throughout the narrative: the accident season, a girl called Elsie no one else seems to remember, Cara and her confusing feelings for Sam, Bea and her witchy ways, Alice and her boyfriend Nick, Sam’s absent dad, magic shops, and a ghost house that stands abandoned. These mysteries slowly unravel, often in shocking and unexpected ways that play with your perception of reality. What at first seems to be a story about four teenagers lives becomes so much more than that, and Fowley-Doyle slowly allows the mysteries to intensify to nearly unbearable levels before revealing what was going on. Some questions are still left unanswered and that just adds to the magic of the story; I will always wonder how much was real and how much was part of a wild seventeen year old imagination, and I quite like that.

The characters were the shining stars of this story; Cara, Sam, Alice and Bea are so brilliantly crafted and felt so unbelievably real whilst I was reading – Cara especially. I connected with each and every one of them, and even when I didn’t agree with their decisions or feelings I could see where they were coming from and it all felt genuine; they’re the kind of people I wish I had known in school, especially Cara, Sam and Bea, and despite the dangers, the kind of experience I wish I could have had – it’s just so surreal, so wild. The writing added to all this beauty – the descriptions and scene setting were incredibly vivid; I was there every moment, for every accident, every interaction, and every kiss.

I can’t wait to see what Fowley-Doyle writes next, and if The Accident Season is anything to go by, it will be absolutely amazing.

Read: June 29th-July 1st 2015

5/5 stars

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