accident season

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishers
ISBN: 9780552571302
Source: Uncorrected proof copy from publisher (thank you!)

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?

I was recommended this book by a colleague who brought it back from a conference at Penguin Random House. He doesn’t usually read fiction, especially not YA, but for whatever reason he decided to give this a go and he really enjoyed it. He passed it on to me and told me to read it and I thought I’d better do as I was told!

I’m so glad I listened. The Accident Season is a captivating book; I flew through it in just over a day and immediately started talking about it to everyone I thought would listen. In some ways it reminds me of how I felt the first time I read We Were Liars by E Lockhart; it has that same sense of intimacy, as if the story in some way belongs to me, as if the characters are family.

Unusually, for a book with this whimsical tone, the characters all feel very distinct and genuine. Sometimes I find that books which are a little abstract can recycle the same character types over and over, but this is not the case here. There are four main characters and Fowley-Doyle works their different personalities and stories together brilliantly. Right from the start I felt familiar with the characters and wanted to get involved in their story and uncover the secrets of their family.

I was drawn in by the mystery of the Accident Season and the impact it has on the main characters. I was also intrigued by the mystery of Elsie and wanted to find out who she was and how she was connected the rest of the story. I really enjoyed the supernatural elements which were not scary, rather creepy and uncanny which is right to my taste. The mystery and secrets in this book make it a real page-turner and I honestly didn’t want to put it down.

Overall, this is a stunningly well-constructed story about family and friendship and uncovering the secrets of the past.