Posts Tagged ‘First to Read’

I hereby declare that May was “get back into reading” month. (Just wait until you see June though!) Better late than never, here’s the short list of my fun May literature shenanigans. I feel like Goodreads is letting me down here, because I know I read more. Or, rather, I failed to keep proper track:

  1. What Light, by Jay Asher
  2. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
  3. The Girl in Between, by Sarah Carroll
  4. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
  5. Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck
  6. The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne

These are the lost list of reviews I will never catch up on, unfortunately, but that’s not the fault of the books! What Light was excellent, my second Asher read after, of course, Thirteen Reasons Why. I’m not huge on romance as you know, but it wasn’t terrible in this novel–plus, it revolved around Christmas trees! What’s not to love? Hawkins Into the Water was a good followup for her to the successful Girl on a Train (which I read in March). Shifting POV doesn’t normally work for me, but Hawkins handles it really well. With so many characters to go between, she had a lot to juggle, but she did it well. As an added bonus, the characters all show development over the course of the story. Win! The Girl in Between was a gift from Penguin’s First to Read Program. I liked it, at first. And then when I got to the end, I kicked myself and had rage for not seeing the way the entire puzzle had been laid out for me the ENTIRE time. I was so into the protagonist that I completely missed blantantly obvious clues–someone paying better attention to this YA read than I was may find the end to be trivial and annoying. Bennett’s The Mothers was an easy highlight of the year thus far. It is beautifully written and completely engrossing. Do not read it in public, because you WILL have feelings. Here and Gone, another First to Read book, was very nearly a DNF for me. The concept itself sounded interesting, until I downloaded it and began reading. I found the mother to be annoying and the situation to be unbelievable. Others may disagree, as always, but that’s my two cents. Aaaaaand my last First to Read book, The Marsh King’s Daughter, was much anticipated and RIGHT up my alley. I was quite excited to get it, especially after multiple problems with First to Read’s download process. The Marsh King’s Daughter is an incredibly well thought out and well written thriller that will easily win the day over the summer. I love the way time shifts back and forth between Helena’s past and present! Everything was very smooth and well handled. A great read!

That’s all for May! I promise to be better as I enter this new phase of life as a book blogger over a CNF blogger–you will see my June wrap up in the beginning of June, along with a few extra reviews in between. Genuine Fraud, anyone? Anyone??

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accident

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

Of all the ARC’s I’ve been hoping to receive this year, Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season was definitely at the top of my list. Needless to say, I was quite excited to receive a copy from Penguin. I struggle to pinpoint precisely what this book is. Is it horror? Thriller? Mystery? An inventive fairytale? Honestly, I think it’s a bit of all these things. And as one of the most lyrically written YA novels I’ve ever read, it’s definitely worth a read—so y’all can make your own decisions.

The book centers around 17 year old Cara. October every year in Cara’s family is known as “the accident season.” Family members become accident prone; they separate themselves from anything that could hurt them, but still somehow manage to become injured. Cara’s entire family is obsessed with “the accident season,” and live the entire month in fear. But Cara wants to know where this curse came from and how she can escape it—as she struggles to unravel the mystery of a classmate who appears in every single photograph ever even when she has no business being there, Cara creeps closer and closer to the truth.

The Accident Season is an incredibly compelling read. Glancing at the blurb, one could take it for a story of family, love, friendship, or secrets, but Fowley-Doyle’s lyrical and winding prose bring the story to life in a way that make it completely unique and anything but ordinary. Fowley-Doyle devotes an extensive amount of time to building her characters and their world, and the setting is so intricately described that the reader can literally see themselves there.

I quite enjoy Cara as a character. She’s a dreamer, but still well grounded. She’s also a bit naive, but I found this didn’t bother me. Cara’s visions of changelings and fairies fit very well both into the overall arc of the story and the touch of magical realism that floats throughout the work. The visions are beautiful, with an almost ethereal quality to them. Once you get to the end, it’s amazing to look back at the subtle details in Cara’s visions and realize “oooooooh, that’s what was being said.” I can’t say much more without giving spoilers, but trust me. Don’t skim over the visions. They may be a bit confusing when you are first reading, but they all come together by the end.

I also really liked Sam as a character, and although the romance was a touch forbidden between Cara and Sam, it definitely worked. Cara’s sister, Alice, is in a relationship with an abusive older man which adds an entirely different layer that runs as an undertone through the entire story.

There was not much conversation between characters, but I didn’t mind that as much of the story (and memories of the accident season) was contained in their heads. I wanted that deep point of view, from inside the characters, and Fowley-Doyle did not disappoint in that regard. This novel does feel at times like snippets of things shoved together, but that is what memory is. That is also, in some respects, what fantasy can be. If you like metaphorical reads and books that make you think, this is definitely for you.

This definitely has similarities to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, for sure—but Fowley-Doyle’s characters are strong and her writing is one hundred percent richer. For a debut novel, The Accident Season is absolutely stunning. I agree with the readers who have called this one an instant classic. Sure, I somewhat predicted the twist at the end (though not entirely), but I don’t really count in that regard as I read many, many YA novels. Pick this one up, y’all. Discover a somewhat underrepresented genre (at least in terms of good reads) of YA. You will not be sorry. 5 stars.

**I received The Accident Season as an ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program. The Accident Season is expected for publication August 18th 2015 by Corgi Childrens.