All the Bad Apples
All the Bad Apples
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Annotation: Deena starts receiving letters from her older sister Mandy (whom everyone thinks is dead), claiming that their family's blighted history is actually a curse, and leading Deena on a cross-country hunt to heal the family's rotten past.
Catalog Number: #186011
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 315 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-525-55274-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-525-55274-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019007496
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In one day, Deena comes out as gay to her sister Rachel, she's overheard by their intolerant father, and her beloved sister Mandy disappears off a cliffside. Has the infamous family curse come around? Deena is certain Mandy's alive and crisscrosses Ireland with three others on an exploration of her family's troubled past. This is a harrowing and ultimately empowering story of characters who reject the shame and stigma others try to impose on them.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Deena, bullied at school for her perceived lesbianism, sets off on a journey across Ireland in search of her beloved older sister Mandy, who is believed to have recently committed suicide.Deena's breathless first-person narration propels readers into the action and drags them across the country and through time. Deena picks up a few companions along the way, including her bisexual, black best (male) friend Finn and Cale (short for Michaela), a possible romantic interest. Cale's great-great-great-great aunt's lesbian relationship with Deena's great-great grandmother is just one of the stories revealed in mysterious letters detailing the lives of Deena's ancestors. The missives provide information about the past and clues about where to look next. Hints of magic, from a family curse to a banshee's wail, amplify the sense of mystery—and the possibility that readers, like Deena's fellow travelers, will find themselves frustrated and confused at times. While the gradually revealed, multigenerational abuse of women, girls, and those who deviate from the norm certainly deserves to be exposed (and, ideally, repudiated), the author's message and the (very) complicated plot overwhelm her narrative—and her main character. As a result, despite evocative writing, eerie details, and intense emotional content, the novel may fail to reach an appreciative audience.A compelling diatribe but not entirely successful as either realistic fiction or folkloric fantasy. (Fiction. 14-18)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Seventeen years younger than the twin sisters who raised her in Dublin, Deena Rys has always lived a life filled with questions. When, the day she turns 17, Deena comes out to her steadfast sister Rachel, she is unaware that their absentee father is within earshot; his poor reaction drives her to the home of her second sister, Mandy, the family's uncontrollable bad apple. Mandy warns her that the Rys family isn't kind to its bad apples, and then she disappears. The police rule it a suicide, but Deena is sure Mandy's still alive, and when she starts receiving letters from her tters that detail the history of the Rys family women and the curse upon them e becomes determined to find her. With the help of friends and family, Deena criss-crosses Ireland, uncovering the stories of the women in her family and the children that, willingly or not, they bore. But among the ghosts of the past and the ruins of Magdalene laundries, Deena's own fate becomes increasingly uncertain. Fowley-Doyle (The Accident Season, 2015) travels through generations, examining the power women possess, the things that have been taken from them, and the things they fight to reclaim. Though the story loses an ounce of its tautness when the magical realism moves into the foreground, it remains an astonishingly potent offering to women who break the mold.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (7/1/19)
Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: HL810L

Unflinching and gorgeously written, this feminist novel is important, timely, and a compulsive read. From the highly acclaimed author of the beloved The Accident Season comes an epic breakout novel examining the very topical and controversial issue of women's sexual and reproductive rights, which has never been higher on the public's radar.

When Deena's wild older sister Mandy goes missing, presumed dead, Deena refuses to believe it's true. Especially when letters start arriving--letters from Mandy--which proclaim that their family's blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions but a curse, handed down to women from generation to generation. Mandy's gone to find the root of the curse before it's too late for Deena. But is the curse even real? And is Mandy still alive? Deena's desperate, cross-country search for her beloved sister--guided only by the notes that mysteriously appear at each destination, leading her to former Magdalene laundry sites and more--is a love letter to women and a heartbreaking cathartic journey.

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