Published by Bloomsbury YA
Published: July 7, 2020
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This timely, emotionally-resonant story about a teen girl dealing with the aftermath of a tragic shooting is a must-read from an exciting new YA talent.
Johanna has had more than enough trauma in her life. She lost her mom in a car accident, and her father went AWOL when Johanna was just a baby. At sixteen, life is steady, boring . . . maybe even stifling, since she's being raised by her grandparents who never talk about their daughter, her mother Mandy.
Then he comes back: Robert Newsome, Johanna's father, bringing memories and pictures of Mandy. But that's not all he shares. A tragic car accident didn't kill Mandy--it was Johanna, who at two years old, accidentally shot her own mother with an unsecured gun.
Now Johanna has to sort through it all--the return of her absentee father, her grandparents' lies, her part in her mother's death. But no one, neither her loyal best friends nor her sweet new boyfriend, can help her forgive them. Most of all, can she ever find a way to forgive herself?
In a searing, ultimately uplifting story, debut author Alex Richards tackles a different side of the important issue that has galvanized teens across our country.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I can’t remember how I heard about Accidental but I do remember I wanted to read it as soon as I learned about its existence. It seemed like a book that not only had never read anything like, but something that is current and could almost have been ripped from the headlines. I knew it would be a heavy book, and I was prepared. And although it wasn’t as emotional as I expected, Accidental was a book I was happy to have read.
Accidental is about 16 year old Johanna who is being raised by her grandparents after her mom was killed in a car accident when Jo was 2. At least that is what she is raised to believe. But when her MIA father shows back up in her life Jo learns the truth, her mother never died in a car accident. Her mother was in fact shot by Jo with an unsecured gun her father owned. Suddenly the easy like Jo was living is no longer right. Jo is just angry. She is angry at her grandparents and at herself and at her life. And when everyone at school finds out things get worse and Jo has to really decide if she can forgive herself for something she doesn’t even remember doing or if she is going to let her anger eat her away.
What I liked about Accidental is that it wasn’t a book that was preachy about gun violence which obviously is a problem we have here in the US. Alex Richards took a subject and wrote about it in a thoughtful manner that made you think and sympathize. My heart broke for Jo and all the other kids this has happened too because it is senseless and stupid and something that just doesn’t have to happen. That is what I liked about this book the most. I also really liked Jo. I understood all of her emotions and why she would push people away and then feel bad. She went from thinking one thing her whole life to learning she played a part in killing someone she didn’t even remember. That has to mess with someone’s head.
Accidental is a solid read and one you should have on your TBR. Whoever told me to read this one was right, it is not a book to miss. My review may be a little vague because it is hard to explain until you experience the pages, but just know this is one you should read.