book review – all the bad apples by moïra fowley-doyle

i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own.

a big thank you to the fantastic flying book club and penguin books for letting me participate in the blog tour for all the bad apples!


All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

★★★★.5

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.

there are spoilers in this review. to view them, highlight the concealed text.

“you were saying something about bad apples when i first got here, right? what was it again?”

“you know the kind,” she went on as if i hadn’t spoken. “you’d know them a mile away. the ones who don’t look like the others, don’t act like the others. the ones who don’t conform, don’t follow the rules, don’t go to church on sunday. the ones who run away, make their own lives. the ones who drink too much, talk too much, don’t work enough or at the right things. the ones who dress differently, love differently, think differently.”

all the bad apples by moïra fowley-doyle

this is my first time reading a moïra fowley-doyle novel, and there is something special and magical in her storytelling. i finished this book in one sitting, which may have something to do with my jet lag, but is mostly due to how gripping her writing is – i just can’t wait to see what happens next.

one of the best things about this book is how the story is structured and told. we are allowed little peeks at the past in mandy’s letters to deena (which later turn out to be forged by deena herself) along the way, and i loved finding out more about the history of deena’s family, as well as ireland bit by bit.

the parts about the magdalene laundries, physical abuse of pregnant teenagers and their children, as well as homophobia, were difficult to read. they made me so angry, and i was shocked that it’s my first time reading about the dark side of ireland’s history. the world needs to know about this. especially in this day and age, where abortion is still illegal in some parts of the world, we need to educate ourselves on the consequences the bans bring and how people’s lives and wellbeing are threatened as a result.

the past will only keep repeating itself as long as we’re kept powerless by our silence.

all the bad apples by moïra fowley-doyle

and i love, love, looove the diversity. the protagonist, deena, is lesbian, and she has a bisexual and black best friend, finn. and afterwards they meet cale, who’s queer too. it’s heartwarming seeing them click immediately, right after meeting each other, and getting closer throughout this little impromptu road trip.

one thing i didn’t like about all the bad apples though, was that the romance is not yet fully developed. you can’t just give me an absolutely amazing kiss scene and leave me hanging! i was so excited and looking forward to how deena and cale’s relationship would turn out, and i was left disappointed and heartbroken. how dare you do this to me. i demand a sequel!

i highly recommend all the bad apples, especially if you’re a fan of magical realism and teenagers speaking out. it’s such a powerful book and i can’t wait for more people to read it.

trigger warnings: abortion, homophobia, suicide, physical abuse, rape

GIVEAWAY (UK / IRELAND ONLY)

win 1 of 3 copies of all the bad apples by moïra fowley-doyle ; this giveaway starts on 22 august and ends on 5 september. enter here.


have you read all the bad apples or other moïra fowley-doyle novels? what did you think? let me know in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “book review – all the bad apples by moïra fowley-doyle

  1. Oooh I haven’t read a magical realism book in a long time, and this book sounds absolutely wonderful! Even just the little snippet you shared at the beginning was enchanting 😍 And it sounds like it explores lots of difficult topics too, which is right up my alley! Great review! ☺️

    💛 Ngoc

    Liked by 1 person

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