Title: All the Bad Apples
Authors: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
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.
Once again, Moïra Fowley-Doyle has created a beautiful atmospheric story filled with magic, mystery, and familial curses. All the Bad Apples includes twists and turns that are traced through letters, which provide details of the main character’s family history. A history sprinkled with cursed family members, also known as the bad apples. The letters include clues on how to break the curse placed on the family’s bad apples, but more importantly, the letters bring Deena one step closer to finding her missing, or thought-to-be dead sister, Mandy.
As an own voices novel, Moïra Fowley-Doyle fills the pages of All the Bad Apples with fictional but realistic accounts of unwed mothers, rape survivors, incest, abortions, racism, and the stigma encompassed in Ireland’s history and present day state. Deena’s story and the narratives of her ancestors are a bitter bite into reality; their stories and hardships reflect the oppression of women, orphaned children, and queer men that does not seem to go away over time.
As a contemporary novel embraced in history and elements of magical realism, Moïra Fowley-Doyle creates a jolting story—multiple accounts at that—filled with queer diversity, heartache, rage, feminism, and in the end, hope. Hope for change and a hope for equality across spectrums of sexuality, gender, and racism. All the Bad Apples will make your teeth clinch, your heart ache, and your eyes tear up—but overall it will leave a lasting impression that history is complicated. History is always changing but unfortunately forever repeating itself—a habit rooted in silencing those who do not conform or fit “traditional” standards.
“Sometimes you have to feel the past to believe it.”
“Some loves ignite like forest fires, burn down entire towns before anybody’s noticed. . . Some loves smolder like a turf fire, are slow to start but will then burn bright and steady through entire winters.”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
“A good cup of tea is a witch’s brew,” the old women said together with wicked grins. “Heals all ills.”
“This is what a curse does: It takes a truth and twists it. It punishes those who don’t conform. It sets the parameters of conformity so narrow that few can actually stick to them.”
“You tell the story,” said Mandy slowly. “You tell your story and the story of your family. You speak your truth. You shatter the stigma. You hold your head up to the world and speak so that everyone else who was ever like you can recognize themselves. Can see that they aren’t alone. Can see how the past will only keep repeating itself as long as we’re kept powerless by our silence.”
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.
Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me an e-ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.