Hi there Virtually Readers. Today is a sad day. It is a day of a Negative Book Review. I had heard lots of great things about The Accident Season, but I ended up feeling like I had wasted my tie. It had great potential- marvellous writing, a creepy atmosphere- but I felt like it went nowhere. Here’s why.
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?
There are the characters. Stuff was mentioned about their backstories, and they all had ‘secrets’ which was sort of the point of the book… but it felt like an in joke to me They had all this history, which was only barely shown (and there were these weird italicized flashbacks. What was up with that?). I never really got a sense of who the characters were. Little details were added, and I get that with the changeling references there was supposed to be some symbolism, but it did nothing for me. I actually got a bit annoyed, because Bea, Cara, Alice and Sam were so wrapped up in themselves that they didn’t think about anyone else. They came off as sort of pretentious (I mean, they wrote poetry and drank wine, not beer, and lit candles) not that that’s necessarily bad, but… I had all these questions, about each of the four main characters, and many of them were unanswered. What did they want to do with their lives? How had their relationships with each other evolved? Why did they keep their secrets? Where did they belong? Only a few of these were really answered, and I didn’t appreciate that.
‘But the evocative atmosphere! What about that, and the writing to die for? It’s like Maggie Stiefvater’ I can hear enthusiastic fans of The Accident Season screaming. The writing was beautiful, but it didn’t make me care about any characters or what was going on, though it was lovely to read. Even the setting was not that explicit. I’m pretty sure it was in Ireland..but it felt like any generic green rainy rural YA setting, like Forks or New Hampshire or Otago. The dialogue was well done, but I didn’t really stick with Cara’s internal narrative. It irritated me because it didn’t change my understanding of anything– that is, The Accident Season could have just as well been told in third person. As for the creepiness… well it was sort of generic as well. There was never a clear answer on the ghosts and the reality of the Accident Season, or the presence of magic Seeing as all of these things were central to the plot, I felt sort of cheated.
There was also very little plot. There was this whole mystery aura and ‘find Elsie!’ thing going on, but nothing much happened. There was a shop that disappeared (obviously) and a party, plus periodically everyone got injured, but who cared? And halfway through the book this random woman Gracie popped up. Who even was she? The plot basically wrote itself in circles, and I didn’t care. There were reveals at the end, but they had no emotional impact, at least for me.
Also, some of the characters actions downright annoyed me. They were drinking and smoking and kissing and lying, but these actions were seen without consequence (except for two significant kisses). I never noticed the characters thinking about what they had done and why that was significant. I don’t expect every YA book to read like a health class and go on and on about responsibility… but I want serious topics (highlight for spoiler) like rape and incest to be covered with the respect they deserve, you know?
And there was a teensy thing that bothered me- the word ‘amn’t’ was used twice in place of am not. Is that dialect? If you’re doing dialect you should go all the way or nowhere I think.
So the despite the well crafted writing, I really didn’t like the Accident Season for all the above reasons– an essentially pointless plot and characters.
Do you ever read books where you just don’t care about the characters? Have you read the Accident Season? tell me in the comments