Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Every October Cara Morris and her family slip on an extra sweater, pad the corners of tables, and avoid deceptively innocuous activities like walking across bridges. It is the accident season, when bruises and broken bones aren’t just possible, they’re guaranteed in the Morris household. But this season promises to be one of the worst and the last time that happened, someone died. When Cara stumbles upon a mystery, she, her best friend Bea, and ex-stepbrother Sam will uncover secrets that will turn their world upside down.
“My heart jumps into my mouth and beats there instead of in my chest. There are too many things I’m trying not to remember and sometimes there’s just no use pretending.”
Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season has a unique premise and her beautiful writing is sure to cast a spell on readers (or at least this one). For as long as Cara can remember, her family has always been susceptible to a myriad of mishaps during every October. These can be as simple as a twisted ankle or a cut on the hand, but it can also end with trips to the hospital and tragic deaths. Cara’s life has always been peculiar, but things get even stranger when she tries to find a fellow classmate that no one can quite seem to remember. Cara’s mind often wanders, blurring the line between what is real and what is fantasy, but behind her strange visions lies the truth about the accident season and her mysteriously missing classmate.
All the characters in the novel are incredibly complex and their stories are guaranteed to move you emotionally. Cara’s best friend Bea has embraced the weird persona so many are eager to label her with. She uses her tarot cards to understand the world, but also as a defense mechanism against reality. Sam, whose father left Cara’s mother years ago, leaving him with a family who isn’t quite his family, isn’t sure where he belongs and harbors a lot of anger toward the parent who abandoned him. Practical Alice, Cara’s older sister, doesn’t buy into the accident season, every injury is just a coincidence and her tendency to hold things in can be self-destructive. Cara would like nothing more than everything to stay the same, her imagination is a way for her to cope with things in her life she hasn’t been able to accept, but when things don’t quite makes sense, she’s determined to find out the truth. Each character has their own secrets; they’re harmful, complicated, and heart-breaking and in the end, incredibly eye-opening.
I expect some readers will take umbrage with the pacing of the novel, but others will be too enraptured by the ethereal setting that this won’t matter and the ending will be more than enough to satisfy them. Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season is an eerie, yet enchanting debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from her.