Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wicked Reads for Halloween: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

As I said yesterday I'm going all out with the creepy reads through the end of the month, and though I've got plenty on hand I'm always looking for new suggestions. So when the good folks over at Penguin Teen and Playbuzz started promoting the latest batch of Wicked Reads with posts like this one, I was all over the list!

To be honest, though, most of the titles were already on my must have/read list anyway, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, Nightfall, Blood and Salt, and today's read, Moïra Fowley-Doyle's debut, The Accident Season!

Every October Cara's family becomes more prone to injuries and accidents. They call it the accident season, the month when they need to be extra cautious about their actions. The month when all the sharp objects need to be locked up, the furniture and floors need to be padded, and the kids need to wear extra layers as added protection. 

Cara and Alice have always lived like this. After all, they lost their grandfather and father to the accident season. Even when Sam and his father became part of the family, the accidents continued. Just four years ago, one of the worst, Cara's uncle died after hitting his head on some rocks while swimming. 

When Cara's best friend, Bea, predicts that this accident season will be one of the worst, Cara isn't so sure. How could anything be worse than when they lost her father or Uncle Seth? But the disappearance of one of her classmates prompts Cara to begin searching for answers. Why is the girl in all of Cara's photos? Why does no one seem to remember her? And as the accidents begin to get worse, Cara wonders most of all if she and her family will come through it all ok.  

The Accident Season is a curious read. Part creepy atmosphere, part fairy tale, and possibly even part ghost story. Again, it's curious but I did so love the overall feel of it!

Elsie, the girl who disappears, we learn has been popping up in ALL of Cara's pictures. Some of them are understandable, they were friends once upon a time. But others defy explanation - how, for example, could Elsie be in Cara's family vacation pictures? But when Cara tries to ask Elsie, she discovers the girl has vanished seemingly into thin air. No one - students, teachers, faculty - remembers the girl! Driven by the need for answers, Cara finds at least some distraction from the current accident season. And the month is almost over without any major catastrophes aside from Alice's concussion. But the month isn't up yet.

While all of this is going on, Cara has also begun to have strange dreams about a group of kids that bear a remarkable resemblance to Alice, Sam, Bea, and herself.

The creepy undertones, the dark sort of fairy tale atmosphere, and the mystery about Elsie and the accident season all combine to make this a somewhat genre defying read. It's not really horror, fantasy, or mystery but it does contain elements of each, creating a mashup cross genre read that's wholly intriguing. And there's really no other word for it. It's intriguing. From the start, Fowley-Doyle snags you in the web of her tale. It's a bit like falling down Alice's rabbit hole (appropriate since Cara's sister is named for Alice), drawing you in with one piece and then another until you're completely immersed and determined to learn Cara's family's secrets.

If you're in the mood for a read that's creepy but not overly scary, The Accident Season is perfect. It's got the atmosphere I mentioned above and again all of those questions about what's really going on, but definitely doesn't hit the truly terrifying mark. I think you'll be quite surprised and pleased by this debut and how it all wraps up in the end.

Rating: 4/5

If you're looking for more Wicked Reads this season, I definitely suggest checking out all of titles:

Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett
Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe
Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

I've already covered Blood & Salt here and will be following up tomorrow with my review of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. I also plan to cover Nightfall and possibly even one more from the list before the month is out as well.

(you can use the Playbuzz link above to find the perfect read based on your Halloween costume. You can also join in on the Wicked Reads fun with two upcoming twitter chats (I'll list the dates and participating authors below) and the weeklong #TwitterGhostStory event starting October 26. To take part, all you have to do is write a creepy ghost story using 140 characters or less - be sure to use the #TwitterGhostStory hashtag - between October 26 and October 31 to enter for a chance to win a prize pack that includes the featured Wicked Reads titles!

And here's that Twitter Chat info for you from the publisher:

We have two more Twitter chats taking place this Friday and next Friday at 4pm that are being hosted by @YAbookscentral and @mashreads, respectively. The authors participating are:

Peter Kujawinski author of Nightfall
Jake Halpern author of Nightfall
Kim Liggett author of Blood and Salt
April Genevieve Tucholke author of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Danielle Vega author of The Merciless and Survive the Night
Peter Kujawinski author of Nightfall
Kim Liggett author of Blood and Salt
April Genevieve Tucholke author of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Carol Goodman author of Blythewood series
Sally Green author of the Half Bad series

(The links above will take you to each authors' twitter profiles.)

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