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All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

On Deena's seventeenth birthday, the day she finally comes out to her family, her wild and mysterious sister Mandy is seen leaping from a cliff. The family is heartbroken, but not surprised. The women of the Rys family have always been troubled - 'bad apples', their father calls them - and Mandy is the baddest of them all. But then Deena starts to receive the letters. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family's blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions, but a curse, handed down to the Rys women through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse's roots, and now Deena must begin a desperate cross-country hunt for her sister, guided only by the letters that mysteriously appear in each new place. What Deena finds will heal their family's rotten past - or rip it apart forever.

Fowley-Doyle says: “All the Bad Apples is a book built of equal parts hope and fury – it’s about feminism and history, family and identity, and what happens when hidden truths are told. I wrote it as Ireland reeled from the findings of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, as grassroots feminist activists rallied to repeal the 8th amendment, and the rage felt by most of this country infused into a story about a teenage girl retracing her family tree and finding herself in its branches.”

Advance Praise for All the Bad Apples 

“Beautiful and visceral, All the Bad Apples is for readers who've had enough of shame and secrets. This essential book unearths what patriarchy wants to keep buried, dragging truth into the light with a fierce belief in the power of telling stories. Moïra Fowley-Doyle has crafted a tale devastating in its universality” - Joy McCullough, author of Blood Water Paint


All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle was definitely a case of it me not you. I had a really hard time getting into this book and found myself just wanting to move on. All the Bad Apples seems to wrap a lot of the author’s political views into a story. I found that it just wasn’t my thing. Plus by the end of the book, I don’t feel like the characters grew at all. I am not totally sure there were characters. What I mean by this is I feel like I know nothing about these characters. Yes, an entire book full of information was thrown at me but I don’t feel like I actually know anything.

The book focuses a lot on the opinions of the Catholic Church and how queer individuals are not accepted. How women’s stories are buried away for good and no one knows about them. Over the top of these political opinions and views we have a girl who is a lesbian with a very devoted Catholic father. These two are dealing with the disappearance of a sister/daughter. OH! And there is a family curse. There is so much information packed into this book that I feel like I should have known the characters better than I do. At the end of the day this book just wasn’t for me. Fowley-Doyle writes beautifully. I just think that the character development needs work.

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About the Author:

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.

Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.

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