The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (proof) - It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free? From Goodreads.
A number of months ago, when discussing upcoming LGBTQ YA, Charlie Morris highly recommended The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, so I requested a review copy. I resisted reading it until recently due to not being able to discuss it for months if I read it sooner, but I kind of wish I had! It's SO good!
Every October is the accident season for the Morris family. They will bump, they will slip, they will trip, they will fall, and there will be torn skin, blood, and broken bones. Every October. No-one knows why this happens, but Cara and Alice, and their ex-stepbrother, Sam, must put up with the extra layers, the the padding around the house and the removal of certain electronic devices like the kettle their mother/guardian insists on. Because the accident season is no joke; family members have died. October is a time when everyone is on edge. So when Cara discovers that someone, Elsie, a girl from school, is in every single one of her photos - an elbow, the back of her head, a shoe - Cara starts to worry. Why is Elsie in every photo? Is she following her? And why has she suddenly stopped coming to school? It looks like she's disappeared, but Cara is determined to find her and get her answers, with the help of Sam and her best friend Bea. Secrets abound, but during the accident season, it might be safer if secrets stay undiscovered.
The Accident Season is incredible! It's atmospheric, haunting, and completely mesmerising! There is so much intrigue to the mystery behind the accident season and what's going on with Elsie. I couldn't stop turning the pages, desperate to know what was happening, what was behind everything. It's not a horror story, but it has such a creepy vibe, an eerie feeling that something is watching Cara, Alice, Sam and their mother/Melanie, causing these accidents at the precise moment. With every scrape, cut, bruise, broken bone and near-miss, it felt like watching a Final Destination movie. You read in a constant state of trepidation, with a sense of foreboding, knowing something terrible could happen at any moment.
I loved how I was never completely sure what was real and what wasn't, continually guessing. There was the accident season, there was Elsie's disappearance, yet still turning up in the photos, the changeling siblings - Fae creatures that Cara dreams about, whose looks and lives have similarities to Cara, Alice, Sam and Bea. Then small things, like a shop that can't be found a second time, or a frozen river when it's so hot out. Plus there's Bea's interest in tarot and her mystical stories, and strange things turning up in a wooded clearing. It's absolutely gripping, and I have no idea what to class this book as! Contemporary fantasy? Magical realism? Paranormal? Something else altogether? Either way, it's brilliant!
The various romances in The Accident Season are subplots, which was nice. The focus was firmly on the weird and the strange, and the romance aspects happened alongside all that. There is an LGBTQ element to the story, but it's not explicitly stated. Sexuality isn't discussed*, what is discussed is a character's feelings for another character, but nothing more than that, nothing about identities. It's about the romance, not sexuality. Some might argue that this should be developed further, but I feel the romance in the book is treated just as romance, rather than straight romance or LGBTQ romance. It's all the same, and I think this is great.
This review hasn't done The Accident Season justice. I don't know if I can. It's delightfully suspenseful, deliciously ominous, and incredibly exciting! I absolutely adored The Accident Season, it's an unbelievably good debut novel! I just wish it was longer! There is no doubt I'll be reading whatever Fowley-Doyle writes next. She's going to be one to watch.
*Although sexuality isn't discussed, I know it's important to see yourself represented in the books you read, so, although it's not actually printed, from what I've read, I would say the characters would identify as bisexual. But I'm not the author, so I could be wrong here.
Thank you to Corgi Children's Books for the proof.
Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Corgi Children's Book
The Accident Season Website
Moïra Fowley-Doyle on Tumblr