The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Published July 2nd/August 18th, 2015 by Corgi Children's.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: Publisher via Netgalley. Thank you Corgi Children's for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA paranormal fantasy/magical realism.

My rating:

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?


Ahh, this book… Where do I start?

I suspect I liked it so much because I read it at a perfect time. I was searching for something new and fresh, a standalone (you know how terrible I am at finishing series) and something with a story I hadn’t read a hundred times before. Reading the second half of the novel while we were spending a day out in the woods, right by a small river that cooled us on an impossibly hot day, probably had something to do with it, too. Sometimes, you read a book and the timing is exactly right and everything just falls into place (it happened with this book as well).

Whatever happened, I would probably like The Accident Season in any case. It has terrific rhythm, the writing is poetic and haunting without being pretentious and Fowley-Doyle smoothly weaves old Irish folk elements into a story of a family that is quite ordinary for most of the year and extremely unlucky for one month every autumn. Unfortunately, if you’ve read the summary, you’ve pretty much read everything that can be said about The Accident Season without spoilers.

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

I get shivers whenever I remember this poem.

I wish I could have read this novel when I was 17. Not that I didn’t relate to the characters as a 28-year-old but Cara is exactly the sort of heroine I missed (without really knowing it) when I was in high school. Well, if teenagers smoking and drinking offends you, you’ll probably find the main characters to be an unlikeable bunch. I, however, found Cara, Bea, Sam and Alice to be real and tragic and loveable and unique.

I’ve been thinking about the ending a lot. If you check my “genre” description, you’ll see I was a tad confused by it – but I think that we’re meant to be confused by it, by the dreams and apparitions and everything. Look, I know it sounds weird and I’ve said I dislike being left in the dark before but Fowley-Doyle was one author I didn’t mind following blindly through the story.

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more work from Moïra Fowley-Doyle – I believe The Accident Season is her debut novel and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, I think I may have found another favourite author.


Are you a mood reader? Or do you always enjoy similar books?

Do you like to know where the author’s leading you? Are you afraid of being left in the dark?

Ooh – if you answer one question, answer this one: what were you like in high school? :)

  • I don’t always tolerate ambiguity well, so I don’t like being left in the dark too much. I’ll suspend that for superb writing on occasion, though. As for what I was like in high school – I was a theater nerd. And a bookworm, of course. And a SF/F geek (mostly fantasy) when very few girls I knew were into that, so by my senior year, my closest friends were mostly boys.

    • A theater nerd! :) We had those, too, but not in the American sense, I think. There’s less clear division between cliques at our high schools – or at least that was the case 10 years ago when I was still in high school :D
      I didn’t start reading SFF seriously until I was at Uni, though. I wish I read some of the wonderful books I’ve read since then when I was younger, really, especially the YA stuff, I think I would have loved it.

  • Oooh elements of an Irish folktale…that is like catnip to me. Danyanip? You get the picture. Why do those Celtic types of stories always seem to have the best writing? Juliet Marillier definitely comes to mind, although her stuff can be quite dark. Moira Fowley-Doyle sounds like an author to watch, especially if this is her debut novel!

    I’m definitely a mood reader, for sure. Case in point: my on again/off again love for JLA. Sometimes I’m in the mood for her stuff and other times I’d rather eat paste. But more than anything I think my mood tends to impact how I feel about, well, “moody” reads if that makes sense. I saw that you linked to your review of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper, which I also read last year and really liked. But I think part of why I liked it so much was because I was in the mood for a tense, moody, atmospheric read full of danger and angst. <— That is not my usual cup of tea! If I had read it at another time, I probably would have enjoyed it less.

    • Yes that’s exactly how I felt with Salt & Storm! Less with this one but still – sometimes a book just FITS your mood and magic happens :)

      Well I’ll definitely be in the lookout for her work in the future. She’s got this haunting-and-spooky-but-not-scary thing down, which is awesome for me because I don’t like scary stuff but occasionally enjoy something a bit darker. I think Holly Black is similar in this regard though their writing is quite different.

  • I am definitely a mood reader, and I struggle with reading books within the same genre right after another.

    I think you’ve sold me on this book though. The premise really intrigued me, but I’m a sucker for haunting and poetic prose, especially in the fall time, which is only two months away now. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this book!

    Also, I was a bit of a closet-goth/nerd hybrid back in high school. I wore black on black ensembles, I was in color guard (which are the flag twirlers in marching band), I was in advanced placement classes, I listened to a lot of hardcore/industrial/punk music. I definitely wasn’t into drinking or smoking in high school though; a lot of my friends were, but I always passed on that sort of thing.

    • I’ve seen other bloggers give really good reviews for The Accident Season and even now, when a couple of weeks have passed since I finished it, I can say it left a big impression. Oh, yes, I can’t wait for fall! We’ve had an unbearably hot July (37°C/98°F for three weeks) and now it’s been raining for two days and all I want is to drink tea and read on the couch.

      I listened to old rock and metal music all through high school – I still do, actually, though I also like Taylor Swift ;) I started listening to metal because a boy I liked had a metal band (he was a drummer) and I ended up liking it a lot even though we broke up.
      Black on black was my staple wardrobe, too! My mother had despaired of ever seeing me in colour again but I now buy colourful clothes without being forced to. :) I have to admit I did smoke (and drink) but there’s teenage stupidity for you. I quit smoking when I was 23 and I’m really glad I did.

  • It sounds atmospheric and lovely! As does your day in the woods. It is so…well…magical when the right moment and book come along. I’m adding this to my reading list!

    • Nice :) I like recommending books that I enjoyed to others. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

      And yes, that day by the river was great – and a much-needed relief from all the heat. We’re currently at the end of another heatwave, it’s been a crazy-hot summer, but I think it’s finally cooling off a bit. I don’t really like extreme heat.

  • Maraia

    I read this! It wasn’t on my radar at all, but after you and several other people rated it so highly, I figured I should give it a try. I’m definitely glad I did. The only other book I can think of to compare it to is (Don’t You) Forget About Me. Have you read it?

    I have to admit, though, that the excessive alcohol and tobacco use did bother me. I KNOW it’s realistic (and it’s not as if I was perfect as a teen), but I guess I wish authors wouldn’t promote it so much. Especially the
    smoking. Sometimes authors make it sound so normal and cool, and I really think we
    should be discouraging kids from smoking. I know it’s somewhat unreasonable,
    and it doesn’t ruin a book for me, but I can’t help feeling annoyed.

    • I haven’t read that book, I’ll check it out! :) (I just did and MAN does that sound scary! Is it any good?)

      Ahh, I knew somebody would be bothered by all the drinking and smoking :D But I have to tell you – I was pretty much just as bad as these guys. I never smoked anything except cigarettes and pot and never took any other drugs (and neither did my friends, we were a pretty back-to-nature bunch) but I did so quite often. But I grew out of it! I quit smoking after five years or so and stopped partying quite as much once it grew old. I think it’s a phase you go through (or not) but if you’re a well-balanced person at all, you grow out of it eventually. I don’t know about authors making it sound cool – it’s just the way it is and I’d rather read books like this than the ones that pretend stuff like this doesn’t happen.

      But ask me all about this in about 14 years and I’ll probably be a total hypocrite by then because my kid will be entering that phase and I’ll be terrified for his health… Eh :D

      • Maraia

        I liked it, yeah. It was really weird and I wasn’t always sure what was happening, but I think it’s worth a read. (You really need an English library!)

        Ugh, I know, it’s so unreasonable of me. I’m not so old that I’ve forgotten what my friends and I did in high school, either. I don’t want authors to pretend that it’s not happening…I don’t know. Maybe it’s more that I’m sad that teenagers are wasting their health and money in real life, and part of me wants authors to remind kids that it is possible to have fun without them? I do think that “cool kids” smoking in books and especially movies/TV does create an appeal for teens on some level. Some of my friends grew out of it, but a lot of them didn’t, and their lives are kind of messed up because of it.