All the Bad Apples

Kathy Dawson Bks/Penguin/. Aug. 2019. 320p. ebook available. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525552741; ebk. ISBN 9780525552758.
Gr 8 Up–Fowley-Doyle takes readers on an emotional journey through Ireland’s unspoken history. There is a curse on the women in Deena Rys’s family—at least, the ones who deviate from the norm, the so-called “bad apples.” . Deena now finds herself afflicted by this curse, having recently come out as queer to her rigid, bigoted father. After her free-spirited sister Mandy suddenly disappears after vowing to break the curse, Deena sets out to follow her to the ends of the earth and discover the truth that has been violently silenced for almost two centuries. Simultaneously enjoyable and difficult to read, Fowley-Doyle’s fast-paced, evocative novel introduces younger readers to some mature concepts and unsettling truths, both historical and contemporary, such as incest, rape, abortion, child labor, and violence against women and those in the LGBTQ community. These topics, however, are important and are handled with great care and the kind of subtlety necessary when dealing with the intended audience’s age.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy realistic and historical fiction, particularly those who loved the “Dear America” series or similar books but are now looking for something with more adult themes.

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