Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 293 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2015
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 think Jen from Jenuine Cupcakes said it best when she said:
This is one of those books where I liked the story a lot. I liked the overarching plot, the creepiness, aspects of the magical realism (will get to that later), and the overall atmosphere, but I did not like the delivery. Thus, this novel has been more of a neutral read for me.
My biggest issue with this book is the pacing. It's like there were moments where I could not turn the pages fast enough (especially in the second half of the book), but there were also moments where despite the plot igniting my curiosity, I just kept putting the book down. I'm chalking this up to the writing. And that is not to say that this book is badly written. I actually tend to like more simplistic writing styles similar to the style employed in this book, I just don't think this form of writing worked with this story. On top of that, there are flashbacks every now and then and they were kind of interspersed randomly with no rhyme or reason and I am not a fan of that. Sure, at the very end they all add up to this unsolved mystery, but the delivery could have been a little different.
Even with the simplistic writing style, I find myself caring a lot about our four main characters. They're all so different and eccentric in their own right, and I love that. Our main character, Cara, is in love with her ex-stepbrother and suddenly obsessed with this girl named Elsie that's disappeared from school. Sam, the ex-stepbrother, really likes sports even if the accident season causes him to constantly get injured. Alice, Cara's older biological sister, is extremely popular where Cara is not and dating this hot rockstar that is several years older than her, but she's struggling to come to terms with some really dark secrets. And then there's Bea, Cara and Sam's best friend, who is by far the most eccentric with her crazy fun supernatural storytelling skills and her witchy reputation. Together, the four of them and their mother, Melanie, navigate the accident season (which is really just the month of October), and patch each other up as the days progress.
One of my other minor frustrations with the novel is the accident season itself. I thought that this was such an interesting idea and was so excited for it, but I almost feel like the story I got was not what I was expecting. Sure, at the end of the novel, we are technically given an answer as to why the accident season exists, but in my eyes it is one of those half-answers that doesn't fully answer anything due to the magical realism aspect that was nice but also really weird and never fully explored (in my opinion), which really frustrates me. This novel also shouldn't be mistaken for a quest about discovering why this one family is inflicted with constant near-death experiences during the accident season. It's almost like they figure it out by stumbling into it, not like they went out of their way to find it. I felt the synopsis was a little misleading in that sense.
And, last but not least, there's the romance. I like how the romance didn't dominate this story, but it was in the background as a separate sub-plot. But, I kind of hate the direction it took in the end. There was so much questioning and self-discovery in regards to morals, friendships, sexuality, etc. that it took nearly the entire novel for certain couples to get together. I'm all for that. But what I didn't like was that, randomly, there's a sexual scene thrown in. It seriously disrupted the flow of the novel and though I am not at all a clean reader, I was just shocked to stumble into it because it seemed so out of place. (Also, it was totally awkward reading it while sitting in Times Square at 9am waiting to get rush tickets for a Broadway show surrounded by a ton of people reading scholarly literature and I'm all "heyo! surprise smut!")
In the end, I really liked this story. I am a fan of the messed up, gritty lives of young adult leads and this book is a lot darker than I anticipated it would be. I didn't think this would be a light read, but I didn't think this book would go where it did go. Although we do not witness any of the following, many things that may be triggers are mentioned such as: kinky sex, one sexual encounter near the end, abusive relationships, death, car accidents, child abuse, sexual abuse, under age drinking, minor drug usage. Needless to say this is not a book for younger readers. I can even say I wasn't expecting to encounter half of this stuff myself.
All in all, a satisfying read. It left me wanting a lot more, but I didn't necessarily hate it. I am simply satisfied and left wishing this amazing idea could have, perhaps, been executed in a different way.
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for an honest review.