“The Accident Season” by Moira Fowley- Doyle (2015)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism
Page Length: 293 (advanced copy edition)
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? (description from Goodreads)
What drew me to read the The Accident Season was it’s interesting concept of a family that has this annual “accident season” in which they endure physical pain. It’s definitely a concept that I haven’t seen before in YA fiction and the plot alone set the novel apart from other previous reads.
The characters seem easy to figure out at first glance, but over the course of the story we learn they had very complex personalities which will conflict later on in the book. Each character deals with an internal struggle to show their true emotions and in doing so hide their secrets from one another. Because of this the accident season is as much of a physical event as an emotional one. Tensions arise, fights break out, and relationships are strained as a result.
Cara is a peculiar protagonist. She and her friends are like outsiders compared to the rest of the students at her school. She’s also very imaginative and because she is our narrator we see the world as if it was a vivid daydream (this is where the magical realism kicks in). It’s hard to tell what’s real or not and the added fantasy elements make the real world a constant blur between fact and fiction.
The book has a slow pace until about the 100th page where the action of the story finally starts to kick in. We have the mystery puzzle pieces of the “ghostly” girl Elsie start to pull together, and we find Cara starting to ponder if the accident season is actually real or not. We see the secrets of Cara’s family start to unravel and things get very interesting.
Overall, I thought this book was a little too “out there” for me. I enjoyed the aspects and the concept of the accident season, but it just wasn’t my “cup of tea”. The magical realism with the addition of fantasy was a bit overwhelming at times and it made it difficult to always follow along with the story. I did appreciate Fowley’s writing in the novel and I appreciated how some of the passages in the book are so poetic.
Good concept, but not my type of book.