ALL THE BAD APPLES by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

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.


Title : All The Bad Apples
Author : Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Format : ARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA mystery contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date : August 27, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

This is what a curse does : It takes a truth and twists it. It punishes those who don’t conform.

ALL THE BAD APPLES is, to quote the author, a story that “was, in part, fueled by rage.” I don’t want to veer away from the specific history she’s shed light on but for anyone who has looked around, confused and shocked and angry, about some of the abortion bills trying to be passed in the US? You’ll want to read this book. Because Ireland had been living that life up until 2018.

That’s the problem with having a funeral for your sister without really knowing whether she’s dead. Without a body in the coffin, how can you be sure she won’t come back?

Overwhelmingly, this book is a very Fowley-Doyle story. If you’ve read her before, you’ll know exactly what I mean : she infuses her twisty whimsy, her magical storyweaving, her mysterious realism, into a narrative that has deeper, darker, roots. In ALL THE BAD APPLES it’s about women, it’s about shame, it’s about family.

I can see the headlines now. Runaway Queer Kids Become Victims of Remote Cabin Chainsaw Killer, Surprising Absolutely No One.”
I’m not queer, sorry.
Then chances are you’ll be the only one left alive.”

I won’t be speaking much to the plot because half the journey is not knowing what’s real and what’s not. Half of this is about the history that came before the events of the moment. Some of it will challenge where you think the story is going. Most of it will probably break your heart. The rest will make you angry.

I wonder — are all legends kind of warped? The scream of a banshee is supposed to foretell a death, but really it’s a warning. They’re supposed to be evil ghosts, but they only ever wanted to help. [..]
I bet if the banshees were men the myths wouldn’t have gotten it wrong.”

What you should know : it’s queer, it’s family-focused, it’s about grief, being heard, belonging, owning up to who you really are, and is rife with secrets. And apples. Lots and lots of apples. Bad apples, nice and normal apples, all kinds.

Tell your story. Speak your truth. Shatter the silence.

I would definitely recommend reading the author’s note when you finish this one. It was educational and even more heartbreaking. I was tempted to rant about the factual elements that make up the backbone of this story, that are woven in amongst the fiction and the fantasy, but. That rant doesn’t belong to me. I’m not here to regurgitate or educate on something I know so little about. But.. read it. Read this book. And then go find THE SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND. And continue to enjoy the wonder and weird magic that is a Fowley-Doyle experience. You won’t regret it.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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