All the Bad Apples

All the Bad Apples

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...

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Title:All the Bad Apples
Author:Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Rating:
Edition Language:English

All the Bad Apples Reviews

  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    Unputdownable. This is full of inherited rage, inherited silence, inherited stigma, and so much more. It’s about a past that is only escapable if someone finally dares to speak it out loud. It’s a horrifying masterpiece that demands to look centuries of trauma in the face and scream about it or nothing will ever change. Essential,

    reading.

  • J.A. Ironside

    ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

    I fucking love this book. It's easily one of my favourite reads of 2019.

    follows Deena, who undertakes a quest to find her missing older sister when she vanishes on her seventeenth birthday - apparently in response to the Rys family curse. The curse falls on the 'bad apples' of the family. Those who cannot be 'nice, normal girls'. The ones who have sex outside of marriage or who desire other women or act in any other

    ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

    I fucking love this book. It's easily one of my favourite reads of 2019.

    follows Deena, who undertakes a quest to find her missing older sister when she vanishes on her seventeenth birthday - apparently in response to the Rys family curse. The curse falls on the 'bad apples' of the family. Those who cannot be 'nice, normal girls'. The ones who have sex outside of marriage or who desire other women or act in any other way outside the norm for their gender. Set in Ireland in 2012, against the backdrop of what is still a rigorously Catholic country (though things are gradually changing for the better - the repeal of the 8th amendment making it legal for women who need to to get abortions is a big step in the right direction.) The strictures and attitudes might seem farfetched for 2012, certainly for 2019. They're not. There are still plenty of people, both in Ireland and outside of it, and in the western world at large, who think like the more repressive and conservative characters in this book. I speak from experience having been raised Irish Roman Catholic - it's a special blend of fundamental religious indoctrination and superstition at it's worst. (At it's best, it resulted in me meeting some of the best, kindest and most tolerant people of my life - but honestly the way it was practiced when I was a child and teen, Catholicism was not calculated to bring out the best in its followers.)

    This isn't just about religion. This is about a system that has been allowed to grow in a way that marginalises women, poc and LGBTQIAP+. It's not so much that's it's anyone's fault, it's that it's everyone's responsibility to try and improve matters; to question; to speak out. Moira Fowley Doyle does an amazing job, via the medium of the Rys family history, of tracing the origins of some of these attitudes. There's no judgment, despite the rage underlying parts of the book. (Fury I shared in fully, having come from this particular Irish background). There's a look at how the Great Famine shaped attitudes, how the English landholders mistreating Irish workers fostered a mindset more geared towards intolerance - when everyone you know is starving to death, it's very hard to find compassion for others' sufferings. From there, we follow the trail through a dark and damning history specifically backed up by the Catholic Church. If you haven't heard of Magdalene Laundries, the church sanctioned mother and baby homes, the Christian Brother orphanages, you will. Be aware that while it's not a gratuitous depiction, it pulls no punches. It was something I knew a lot about and it still had me incandescent with rage.

    And yet for all that, this is a remarkably hopeful novel all about reclaiming the past - good stories, bad stories, hopeful and despairing stories, family stories but most of all women's stories - and then building a better future out of knowing the past. It had a certain amount of creepiness which I rather relished. And I enjoyed all the references to Irish history and mythology - it made me quite homesick at times.

    Deena is a sympathetic character, flawed but adventurous. There's no moustache twirling villains here, but also no quarter given for anyone who goes on to perpetuate a cycle of oppression and abuse just because they've come from one themselves. I loved the friend group that formed around Deena, and her family dynamic fell into strange but true and utterly believable territory.

    I've loved all the authors' books but this is the best one yet. Highly recommend.

  • megs_bookrack

    An absolutely enchanting feminist tale!

    I was so enthralled by this story, I could not put it down. As Deena begins to unravel the mysteries of her family tree whilst on a search to find her sister, Mandy, assumed dead, I was completely swept up in their family lore. I wanted to know everything about the Rys family.

    Fowley-Doyle seamlessly blended past and present together as the narrative unfolds. The reader takes a front seat as history repeats itself

    An absolutely enchanting feminist tale!

    I was so enthralled by this story, I could not put it down. As Deena begins to unravel the mysteries of her family tree whilst on a search to find her sister, Mandy, assumed dead, I was completely swept up in their family lore. I wanted to know everything about the Rys family.

    Fowley-Doyle seamlessly blended past and present together as the narrative unfolds. The reader takes a front seat as history repeats itself again and again. Women and girls are stripped of their power and choice, made to live false lives. It was heart-wrenching and felt extremely genuine.

    At the beginning of the novel, Deena, our teenage protagonist comes out to her family with a mixed reaction. She is a student at a Catholic school and has been raised within a conservative household. She is struggling with her identity and being able to live her truth.

    I thought this aspect of the story was so well done, as were all aspects really, but the feelings evoked as Deena questions whether or not she is a

    , were just so powerful. That's how the story kicks off and as far as gut-punching, hard-hitting topic choices, never lets up.

    I loved the format the author chose to slowly reveal the truth at the heart of this tale. I am going to be thinking about this one for a long time to come.

    I am not going to say anything else in regards to the plot because I think it would best serve the story, and your reading experience, to go into this with as little information as possible.

    A story of family, identity, secrets, truth and power, I am still reeling by how much this story has impacted me. Truly stunning.

    While this is a fully fictional story, the topics explored within were well researched by the author and are based on true events that happened throughout the course of Ireland's history. As the author lives in Ireland and is Irish herself, that is where the story is focused, however the issues the girls and women faced are universal.

    Please read this book.

    and as always, this includes the Author's Note at the end. Read that too!!

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    A BOOK about FAMILY CURSE,WITCHES, BANSHEES, GHOSTS washed with magical realism, mysterious historical journey to the family ancestors’ stories repeated itself like living in the same Groundhog Day, taken place IN IRELAND and lots of tasty, juicy apples give you cravings! What am I waiting for? GIVING WITHOUT THINKING MY 5 BILLION STARS!

    My vocabulary was limited to express how I loved this book so much because this is more than a mythological, mystical, mysterious, gothic, folkloric adventure.

    A BOOK about FAMILY CURSE,WITCHES, BANSHEES, GHOSTS washed with magical realism, mysterious historical journey to the family ancestors’ stories repeated itself like living in the same Groundhog Day, taken place IN IRELAND and lots of tasty, juicy apples give you cravings! What am I waiting for? GIVING WITHOUT THINKING MY 5 BILLION STARS!

    My vocabulary was limited to express how I loved this book so much because this is more than a mythological, mystical, mysterious, gothic, folkloric adventure. This book is the best feminism manifesto I’ve read so far.

    This is not about a specific family curse. It’s about a culture’s shameful beliefs, behaviors, acts against the women who had been punished, expelled, cast out, kicked out, locked out by ILLOGICAL, IGNORANT, RUTHLESS BRAINS for centuries! They’re banned as “BAD APPLES AND LEFT TO BE ROTTEN ON THE GROUND!”

    It’s about the beautiful and innocent souls of women who had paid too much by enduring their unhappy, miserable, destroyed lives.

    It’s about unplanned pregnancies! Only the women paid the price by being kept in shame, endured back-street abortions, sold their children in illegal adoptions. Some of the women’s babies had been taken away from them to be buried in unmarked graves.

    So this book is about CHANGE THE PATTERN to prevent the history repeat itself over and over again!

    It’s about to speak freely! It’s about to express yourself honestly! It’s about not to be afraid of being yourself and not to care what the society norms force you to do!

    Stop being silent! SPEAK THE TRUTH! SPEAK YOURSELF!

    This starts with three sister’s story. Mandy, Rachel, Deena! The day Deena declared she was gay and her father forced her to take her words back, her sister Mandy warned her, she would be in danger of their family curse and she disappears with a letter says she’s going to find her daughter at the end of the world.

    Deena starts her journey to find her sister but this journey ends with revealing harsh, dangerous, heart-wrenching secrets of their family. As long as Deena resumed her walk at the end of the world, she got closer to find her real self and honest truth about her own being!

    I loved this heart throbbing, thrilling, magical, riveting, fast pacing, poetic, soul searching adventure. This is one of the surprising and amazing books of this year! It’s vulgar, raw, emotional ride! I enjoyed every second of it!

  • C.G. Drews

    This was deeply, deeply moving. Like I was nearly choking on rage tears at the end there (inwardly) because it's so deeply about feminism, about the history of abuse and cruelty and discrimination that queer people and women have suffered forever. I'm serious...I was so gobsmacked. This book WENT for it. And holy shit, it nailed the topic.

    It's beautifully written and framed

    This was deeply, deeply moving. Like I was nearly choking on rage tears at the end there (inwardly) because it's so deeply about feminism, about the history of abuse and cruelty and discrimination that queer people and women have suffered forever. I'm serious...I was so gobsmacked. This book WENT for it. And holy shit, it nailed the topic.

    It's beautifully written and framed in soft words (I really love the author's style and I was obsessed with

    back in 2015!!), but I was just here thinking it would be about a girl finding her missing sister after they failed to be "good enough" for their strict family. BUT. It's much much more than that.

    For starters, Deena is 17 but her older twin sisters are in their 30s. Their mother is dead, father is horrible and absent, basically only returns to make sure they're being "good enough". He's very religious too. Then Mandy goes missing, but they find blood on the rocks and her empty car and so it's ruled a suicide. Thus begins Deena launching into basically this 36-hour spaced plot where she follows these letters Mandy left to find her.

    The letters are about their family history. And it was so so hard to read at times. We're talking the 1930s in Ireland; everything is intensely catholic, and it's inhumane how they treated women. It's shocking and despicable and honestly made my stomach turn. I KNOW this stuff is real too and the author's note talks about just how real it is. But like pregnant unmarried women being stuffed into Catholic workhouses and nunneries where they're full on treated horrifically in the name of "suffer so your sins are forgiven". It deals with rape, lack of abortion rights, how women have their children ripped away from them, how hundreds (nearly

    ) of women/babies died in these workhouse/nunneries. How queer people were treated and murdered. It's a lot.

    It's a lot of a lot and it's true and it makes me burn.

    It is

    being outraged. It is about not sitting in silence so history repeats itself again and again. It just makes you cry at the privilege of today.

    So in the present, we have Deena narrating in 1st person. I loved her so much! She's worried about being a "bad apple" of the family...hiding that she's gay and drowning in the secrets of her family's past. And then in the past, we go through several generations of her ancestors. It's very very focused on the women, but it's all...

    . So it doesn't read very fast and tbh it isn't my favourite style of book to read. Very reflective almost?

    Like my soul is pretty much shaking in rage of what they all went through. And it was so casual. The parents calling their raped daughters sluts and forcing them to carry their babies and then ripping those babies away...god it's really tough to read.

    Also, in the present, there's so much diversity! Deena is queer and she meets Cale, also queer, while Deena's best friend is bi and black. It's a love letter to minorities who have been crushed and silenced in the past. 💛

    It's so so worth it, especially for just being LOUD and talking about what women have gone through in the past. What queer women and people have suffered.

    The tagline for this is "shatter the silence" and I'm so glad YA books are doing this.

  • Hollis

    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.

    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.

    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.

    "

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    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.

    "

    "

    "

    "

    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.

    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. **

    ---

    This review can also be found at

    .

  • Julie Zantopoulos

    In true Moira Fowley-Doyle fashion this is a stunningly written novel about women, sisters, family, friends, and about the length we go to for love. It's queer, it's diverse, it's witchy, and there are mother f'ing harpies. It's spooky, it's feminist and it's about the strength and resilience of women in the face of their greatest historical threat--men.

    In true Moira Fowley-Doyle fashion this is a stunningly written novel about women, sisters, family, friends, and about the length we go to for love. It's queer, it's diverse, it's witchy, and there are mother f'ing harpies. It's spooky, it's feminist and it's about the strength and resilience of women in the face of their greatest historical threat--men.

    This book follows women, women's rights, women's reproductive rights, the shame put upon women for being sexual creatures even as they're objectified and treated as such. It's a harrowing tale of the history of Ireland and the trials that women there (specifically) went through in their fight for equality and reproductive rights.

    This is also a story about the love between sisters. Deena is determined to find her sister Mandy even though her other sister, Rachel, wishes she wouldn't. She's running from a father who won't accept that she loves other girls, and toward the unknown. She's following the letters Mandy left behind when she went, determined to find her and bring home the "bad apple". She is grappling with her sexuality but not alone. Deena has her best friend Finn, and a girl she's drawn to that is tied to her family's past, and a sister she never knew she had (Ida). This group of kids have my heart, forever.

    This is not an easy story to read but it's both magical and beautiful in its truth. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Moira's work, who has enjoyed the trend of recent women's reproductive rights stories, who fell in love with the atmosphere of The Wicked Deep or Summer of Salt. You won't regret picking it up.

    TW: suicide, rape, homophobia, abuse (sexual and domestic), pedophilia, incest, murder, arson, miscarriages (mention of late-term miscarriages) and queer kids kicked out of the home.

    *ARC received at ALA*

  • Kayley Hyde

    4.5/5 ahhhh wow

  • Acqua

    has everything you should expect from a Moïra Fowley-Doyle novel:

    . At the same time, it's so much darker and angrier than usual.

    This felt like the bookish equivalent of a scream.

    You might think this is a story about a lesbian who has a very traditional catholic father and who is grappling with the consequences of her older sister's disappearance and what might be a family curse,

    has everything you should expect from a Moïra Fowley-Doyle novel:

    . At the same time, it's so much darker and angrier than usual.

    This felt like the bookish equivalent of a scream.

    You might think this is a story about a lesbian who has a very traditional catholic father and who is grappling with the consequences of her older sister's disappearance and what might be a family curse, discovering her family's history in the process. It is, and yet it's not.

    , a story about Irish history from the point of view of those who are always erased. It's a story about how necessary

    is, about how we shouldn't take our victories against bigotry and patriarchal systems for granted.

    This book made me realize is that I'm kind of tired of reading about Americans' problems. I don't live in Ireland, but for various reasons, what they went through is much more similar to my country's problems. Reading about European countries from a modern European point of view is so refreshing, and I'm glad this book exists.

    This also meant that for me this book was

    . And even if you don't know what it means to deal with catholic fundamentalism, I recommend reading the content warnings at the end of this review.

    So, why not a higher rating? Because - and this has happened with the other novel I've read by this author too -

    .

    Deena is a lesbian, her best friend is a bisexual and biracial black boy, she meets a girl who is also queer during this novel, and there's the beginning of what could be a romance.

    , and - mostly in the second half - the parts about history took over the book, so that the present storyline started to feel stagnant.

    (It still surprised me, though. I would have never seen any of that coming.)

    On the historical parts: I loved their message and the point they were making, they just weren't that interesting to read. The problem with multi-generational stories is that

    I would recommend

    to all of those who enjoy

    and liked the inter-generational aspect of

    : homophobia (challenged, and mostly at the beginning, but it's there right from the first chapter), frequent mentions of what is rumored to be a suicide, controlling parent, bullying

    : incestuous rape (implied), rape of a minor (implied), institutionalization, physical, emotional and religious abuse (

    told, not shown), one of the main characters' ancestors got burned alive for being gay ("a witch"; again, told not shown), and we're also told about forced pregnancies, abortion, mothers separated from their babies, death of a baby, suicide, a lot of misogyny and bigotry.

    [I hope I haven't missed anything but there was a lot.]

  • Khadidja ~on hiatus~

    Idk anything about this book. BUT i'm willing to read this book just because of the cover,,,, hOW CAN A PERSON BE THIS BEAUTIFUL I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND

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