AAHHH!!! I'm so excited to tell you that I'm participating in the blog tour for All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, whose first book Spellbook of the Lost and Found remains one of my favorite reads. Today I have for you a review as well as my favorite quotes from the book. FFBC Tours is also offering a giveaway! You have the chance to win one of three copies of All the Bad Apples, from August 22 to September 5.
The Book and its Author
On Deena's seventeenth birthday, the day she finally comes out to her family, her wild and mysterious sister Mandy is seen leaping from a cliff. The family is heartbroken, but not surprised. The women of the Rys family have always been troubled - 'bad apples', their father calls them - and Mandy is the baddest of them all.
But then Deena starts to receive the letters. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family's blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions, but a curse, handed down to the Rys women through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse's roots, and now Deena must begin a desperate cross-country hunt for her sister, guided only by the letters that mysteriously appear in each new place. What Deena finds will heal their family's rotten past - or rip it apart forever.
Fowley-Doyle says: “All the Bad Apples is a book built of equal parts hope and fury – it’s about feminism and history, family and identity, and what happens when hidden truths are told. I wrote it as Ireland reeled from the findings of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, as grassroots feminist activists rallied to repeal the 8th amendment, and the rage felt by most of this country infused into a story about a teenage girl retracing her family tree and finding herself in its branches.”
Amazon || B&N || Google Books
Amazon || Waterstones || Google Books
iTunes || Book Depository || Kobo
Moïra is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin. Her first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and received widespread critical acclaim. Her second, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award.
I stayed up until 3am reading. I lost track of time from the minute I started. All the Bad Apples is a magical book full of family, feminism, and history. I learned so much as I fell in love with Deena and her family. Fowley-Doyle has, once again, healed my heart. If you asked me to pick a favorite thing about this book, I wouldn’t be able to choose. I loved everything. All the Bad Apples is all I expected and more.
It only took a couple of pages for me to understand Deena’s relationship to her family. Fowley-Doyle’s writing is crisp, every sentence has meaning, and there is no purple prose. Deena is a great narrator, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective because of the emotion she brings to the story. Her passion—and her love for Mandy—are infectious. I couldn’t help but lose myself in Deena’s world, and with every page that passed I became all the more invested in her journey. Usually when a character goes on a quest without telling anyone, I want to scream, but in All the Bad Apples, that feeling disappeared. Deena’s motivations are perfectly laid out, so I could understand her choices. In fact, given the situation, I might have done the same!
Deena is an amazing character, but that’s not to say the others aren’t as well! I’d like to give a shoutout to Finn, for being a good and supportive best friend, but honestly, all of Deena’s friends deserve a medal. I’m particularly in awe of how they just sort of accept the adventure she embarks on, and understand that Deena needs to grieve for Mandy by following the letters she’s left. I also love Cale and Deena! I appreciate the inclusion of a light romance, but I like that it didn’t upstage the story of Deena’s quest.
My favorite dynamic, however, is between Deena, Rachel, and Mandy. The sister love is strong in this book, and I love how Rachel and Mandy counterbalance each other’s influences on Deena. They genuinely care about one another, and wish for each others’ well-beings, even through family turmoil. I will never tire of the “sibling raising sibling” story, and this book warmed my heart from that aspect alone.
On the subject of family: one of the most intriguing aspects of All the Bad Apples was the Rys family curse. I was immediately attracted to the flashbacks in the story, and found them to be extremely well-written and developed. The characterization of Deena’s ancestors is so clear, and I admire that this secondary plot line is given equal weight in the narrative to Deena’s own journey. In a way, the novel walks a line between contemporary and magical realism that I love, tiptoeing into the most interesting parts of both genres.
All the Bad Apples documents the history of women in Ireland in such a compelling way. The book is filled with raw honesty about the abuse of women, persecution of queer people, and other horrors that young women went through from the late 1800’s to modern day. I was shocked by some of what I learned, but I think that’s the point. All the Bad Apples is about speaking out, solidarity, and shedding silence. For this reason, I found the conclusion very fitting. 5/5 stars for this stunner of a novel. All the Bad Apples needs to be your next read. #WeAreAllBadApples.
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Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.