Reviews

All the Bad Apples

“The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.”

I had no idea what to expect when I dove into All the Bad Apples, but I shouldn’t have worried: I enjoyed this immensely.

All the Bad Apples is a magical story full of atmosphere, mystery, and a twisted sense of whimsy. This book is about women, shame, and family while also being a comment on the punishment that the world dishes out to girls who aren’t “nice and normal.” It is so relevant.

Deena in particular is a great female main character. She felt whole and fleshed out, and wielded so much agency and power for a young girl. I love that she develops over the story in more than one way; sexuality, religion, strength. She was a different character at the end of the book than she was at the beginning and that development felt so reasonable and empathetic.

I also loved the background of Ireland for this particular story. The story is so woven into the culture and identity of its setting. I lived in Ireland for a short time, and the intensity of religion and community shown in this book felt very real to me. All the Bad Apples is a story that digs deeply into how the history of a place and a culture can gradually change and twist the views of thousands of people. Very interested to read.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this. I loved the Irish setting, I loved the descriptive and beautiful writing style, I loved the diverse cast in race, sexuality, gender. This book is angry in all the best ways, almost cathartic in the ways that so many women and girls are feeling frustration right now. If you’re looking for something mysterious and atmospheric, and also a little different, this may be the book for you.

Look for this one on shelves on August 27th!

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.

Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.

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