Hi friends, I’m so, so excited to be reviewing The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen! As some of you know, I’m a huge fan of Sarina’s new adult work, so when I heard she was working on a YA book, I was basically over the moon.
I first read The Accidentals a year ago, when I beta read it for Sarina. So I’m coming to this book with a very different perspective than usual. The first time I read it, it was longer, but good, enjoyable, somewhat angsty read. I’m happy to say that this time, The Accidentals is not only a better book, but a far tighter, more unputdownable one. I loved it so much that I’ve decided to hold a giveaway for an e-copy! Check out my review and sign up below!The Accidentals
Author: Sarina Bowen
Find the author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest
Also by this author: , The Fifteenth Minute, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Understatement of the Year, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Keepsake (True North, #3), Him, Us, Untitled, Hard Hitter, Good Boy, Keepsake (True North, #3), Goodbye Paradise, Pipe Dreams, Stay (WAGs, #2), Pipe Dreams, Temporary, Man Hands (Man Hands, #1), Man Card, Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), Speakeasy, Overnight Sensation
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication date: July 10, 2018
Source: Author's publicist (thank you!)
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.
Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen
The Accidentals stars Rachel Kress, a 17 year old who has just lost her mother. Rachel has always know that her father is famous singer-songwriter Freddy Ricks, but she’s never met him – she and her mom got by on cheques from him and her mother’s work as a pediatric nurse. So when Rachel’s mom passes away, Frederick Richards is contacted and it turns out – he wants to help and be part of her life. But does Rachel want him to? She’s one summer away from going away to boarding school at Claiborne Prep, where she’ll hone her singing skills, hopefully join an a capella group, and try to get into a great college.
Into this mess, there’s also a childhood friend who wants to be more, a new Claiborne penpal who also might be more, and a lot of questions about why Freddy never contacted her before and why her mom couldn’t ever say his name, but told Rachel to call him before she died.
It sounds like a heavy book, but Sarina does an amazing job balancing the weighty with the light in The Accidentals. Rachel’s world isn’t just about the grief she’s working through – it’s rounded and populated by her father’s people, new classmates and her own past. Sarina creates characters that are individual and memorable, whether it’s Ernie, her father’s bassist and best friend, or Carlos, his driver, or Aurora, Rachel’s Spanish roommate. Like with her new adult books, there’s a wide secondary cast, and they all feel realistic and warm.
The Accidentals is a book that’s driven by plot despite being a character book – we follow Rachel through the months after her mother’s death, and then to boarding school and a new life. It’s almost always a fish out of water book, but I liked that it never felt like you were unfamiliar to Rachel herself.
I think the most interesting thing about this book is just how normal Rachel is, and how relateable she is despite the extraordinary circumstances of her life. She’s ambitious without being annoying about it, smart, an amazing singer, brave and loyal, and she comes across as just someone you would love to hang out and be friends with. Similarly Frederick, Rachel’s dad, is really likeable for a rock star and a deadbeat dad. He’s surprisingly adept at understanding people. It’s really hard to hate him even though he never contacted Rachel for 18 years. The way Sarina navigates the subtleties of that relationship in a realistic, non-villainous way is one of the best things about The Accidentals.
Like with Sarina’s new adult books, it’s hard for me to describe much more about the plot without giving things away. But this time around, The Accidentals felt like a really tight, fluid book. There isn’t a scene that doesn’t advance the character development, so much so that by the end of the book, I felt like I was part of Rachel’s family. I was really drawn into and invested in Rachel’s family, friendships, her hopes and dreams.
Book Theme Song:
Stay (Zedd & Alessia Cara) covered by Duke University’s Out of the Blue
Waiting for the time to pass you by
Hope the winds of change will change your mind
I could give a thousand reasons why
And I know you, and you’ve got to
Make it on your own, but we don’t have to grow up
We can stay forever young
Living on my sofa, drinking rum and cola
Underneath the rising sun
I could give a thousand reasons why
But you’re going, and you know that
All you have to do is stay a minute
Just take your time
The clock is ticking, so stay
All you have to do is wait a second
Your hands on mine
The clock is ticking, so stay
All you have to do is stay
Out of the Blue has the kind of sound that I think Rachel’s Belle Choir has – focused on close harmony and not the dancing part of a capella. Stay, the song, speaks to the relationship between Rachel and her father – her fear that he’s going to leave her at every moment.
The Final Word:
It’s no surprise that I adored The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen when I read it as a beta reader last year. What was a surprise, at least to me, is how much more I loved it the second time around. For her first YA book, Sarina knocked it out of the park with a emotional, thoughtful family drama that gives us a realistic look at how a father and daughter can find their way back together. It’s a captivating look at how a family can move forward with their lives – all with the really enticing backdrop of boarding school traditions, a capella, and the glamour of rock music. And for those of you who need swoons, yes, there is a super cute (nerdy) boy as well.
Recommended for: Fans of Julie Cross and Miranda Kenneally, people who like boarding school stories, people into emotional family reads
THE ACCIDENTALS by Sarina Bowen comes out on July 10. Will you be reading it? Do you like boarding school books like I do? Are you into angsty emotional reads? Let me know in the comments, and sign up below for a chance to win an e-copy!
Sign up below to enter the international giveaway for an e-copy of The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen. Please note: You must have an e-reader that can accommodate a Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or iBooks version of the book.