on July 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A YA novel from USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.
Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.
I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.
My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.
When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul.
There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.
My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.
"With intense, honest depictions of hope and rejection, The Accidentals will break your heart. Highly recommend." - Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan
The Accidentals is a wonderful coming of age story and once again Sarina Bowen managed to steal my breathe away and make me feel like I know her characters in real life. With Rachel I felt that sisterly like tug to protect her and simply ached with her pain. It’s been weeks since I finished this and the story is still pinging around in my head and looking back at my numerous highlights, and I feel exactly I felt while reading it. This is the kind of book you slow your pace as you absorb every word.
Rachel is a junior in high school when her mother dies. Understandably she’s devastated and the pain is compounded when she meets the father she always knew about but has never “known”. At seventeen her entire life is upended so we follow her as she goes home to where her mother grew up, attends the same prep school her mother did, and cultivates new relationships and lets go of old ones. Sarina’s writing is just so smart and Rachel just might be one of her most complex characters. She puts her in hard situations, where she both stumbles and shines. She’s forced to make decisions that are both typical and atypical of a girl at eighteen, “on her own”, but shadowed by her bigger superstar father trying to make good on the years he stayed away.
To me, this was a slow-burn love story, only it’s a father & daughter trying to decide if they can build a relationship. It’s complicated by the lack of knowledge Rachel has about her father and mothers’ relationship and Rachels deeply embedded feeling rejection. There are times I wanted to strangle Frederick, but he’s there and he’s trying. Rachel is a sensitive soul and her grief unending. She’s experiencing so many first without her mother to buoy her. She’s a bit guarded but Rachel learns to d smartly surrounding herself with trustworthy friends and learns to standup for what she believes.
I see a lot of other Sarina Bowen fans declare this may be their favorite book by her. I have to agree that The Accidentals is an extraordinary book, one that I won’t ever forget! 5 Stars!
~Review by Cyndi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was utterly blown away by this book. Yes, I’ve read Sarina Bowen before and loved her works. So her first YA book? Yeah, no brainer. And it was beautiful. You feel and explore all of the emotions tunneling through and changing Rachel. Terrible loss, the awakening of feelings, understanding the difference between friends and more than friends, and then what it means to have a father.
Bowen takes you through these different emotions and lets Rachel’s experience a mixture of them with a myriad of characters – friends and family. Her dad isn’t perfect but he loves. Same with Haze. Her friends help Rachel learn to understand how to expand her heart and better understand her emotions. The complexity and the confusion of these emotions and trials associated with growing up as well a learning yourself are all that make this story real. Alive. Deeply dimensional. Enjoyable.
There are varying levels of pain and hurt. Sadly, we all experience them as we journey into adulthood. What I appreciated about Bowen’s approach is that she shares the rawness of each emotion – good and bad – without overdramatizing them. There is no flatness to the characters or a superficial skimming of situations; she gives them all the perfect balance and respect they demand to be complex, yet simple and developed.