Ugh…this book just didn’t work for me. I respect that this is the type of story that a lot of people would enjoy, but I honestly didn’t like it.
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season—when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17—is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.
Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There’s a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she’ll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she’ll uncover the dark origins of the accident season—whether she’s ready or not.
I LOVED the premise of this book. I expected a whimsical contemporary-fantasy that would remind me of a Halloweeny Maggie Stiefvater.
I did not get what I expected.
And I know what you’re going to say–being surprised can be good. Stories, in fact, should surprise us.
But if I’m going to be surprised, I shouldn’t be disappointed. And I was pretty disappointed by what this book turned out to be.
I didn’t connect to the characters of this book, mainly because I feel like I never got to know them. The characters had presences but not personalities–though we learned more about their pasts as the book progressed, it wasn’t coupled by a deeper understanding of who they were.
I never got a sense of who Cara (the protagonist) was, and she was the character that had the least revealed about her over the course of the story. Bea, the best friend character, was interesting at first but never developed; Alice, the sister, ended up being the most interesting character, but I never liked her very much. And Sam, the ex-stepbrother, gave off cute love-interest vibes but little else.
Also, on a slightly petty note, all the characters are DGAF teenagers who spend the book either cheating on homework, not doing homework, or planning wild parties that will clearly go awry. That really doesn’t connect with me as a
tight-ass responsible student, and it definitely kept me from connecting to the story.
My main issue with this book is that it is so freaking wishy-washy. I expected it to have clear fantasy elements, and if you look at the book one way, it did, but actually, it didn’t. Confused? Me too. I got really excited when the idea of each of the four main characters being a changling was introduced, but it never went anywhere beyond being a hallucination/metaphor, and it was frustrating. Instead of feeling like a fantasy novel, TAS ended up being a blurry, mystery-ladden story that relied far too much on reveals that weren’t what I wanted from the story.
Moira Fowley-Doyle’s writing didn’t work for me. Usually, I love the flowery type of writing that she used, but for some reason, I just could not pay attention to what was going on in the story. I would read a paragraph and then stop and realize that I hadn’t understood what was said, mainly because the writing style just did not grab me.
Also, since I picked up this book thinking it would be semi-light-hearted-with-a-hint-of-creepiness, I could used a trigger alert of some kind for the topics discussed. I appreciated that topics like domestic violence and sexual abuse were talked about so frankly, but since the book already wasn’t working for me by the time the secrets came out, the social commentary missed its mark.
All in all, I don’t think that this was a bad book. I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who loved the uncertainty of this book; I’m just not one of them.