Having been a fan of Fowley-Doyle’s previous book, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, I knew I needed to read All the Bad Apples. That plus the gorgeous cover (US & UK), people telling me it was feminist and queer, I was sold!
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
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Tw:homophobia, rape, Physical abuse, suicide, abortion
All the Bad Apples is one of those books that not only grips you tightly with its sense of mystery, but grabs you thematically as Fowley-Doyle explores feminism and the concept of “bad apples”. Seriously. I adore the story, the way Fowley-Doyle weaves a tapestry of suspense wrapped up with hope. A story of the ways women are blamed, called the seductress, and punished for mistakes born from two. A story that stresses the importance of speaking up, of looking closely at our history, and telling the stories of those who were silenced.
What is even a bad apple? All the Bad Apples not only takes a closer look at these bad seeds, but the tree they came from. When we are convinced we are the bad apples, the black sheep, of the family. And even further, that our deviance from their standards of ‘nice and normal’ manifest themselves into a curse. The curse of being silenced. To keep up appearances, that no matter how much we plan, that to let our family know we are one of those bad apples – is the fate we fear.
Not only is All the Bad Apples wonderfully diverse (bisexual, lesbian), but it is fantastically feminist. It calls into question the very nature of what a bad apple represents – someone who does not conform to the standards of society. One that punishes women, silences them, persecutes them. By weaving the past and present, Fowley-Doyle interacts with the past – giving it a much needed voice after being silent for so long.
Letters to bring forth spirits and secrets. It brings us back into a past, and a moment in the present, where queerness is ignored, vilified, and persecuted. Reminding us that while sometimes it feels like the world has changed so much, but knowing that there are pockets, societies, towns, and families where not much has changed. Full of gorgeous writing, magic and mystery that we can never quite pin down, All the Bad Apples is a powerful story about the strength of our stories. The importance of breaking the stigma and the silence. The cycle of destructive and toxic rhetoric. Conversations of misinformation and coercion.
Prize: Win (1) of (3) copies of ALL THE BAD APPLES by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (UK/Ireland Only)
Starts: 22nd August 2019
Ends: 5th September 2019a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
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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