I have such complicated feelings about this book. I was so excited and honored to be approved for an arc of this book, so I immediately jumped in. The premise really intrigued me because of the conversations I knew this book would have about gun control, especially the tragic circumstances where children find guns and accidentally shoot them. However, I just didn’t feel this book did what I was expecting to do.
Things I liked:
- I loved the writing of this book, and the authenticity of Johanna’s character throughout most of the book! She felt like such a real teenager in the way she acts and talks. She’s sarcastic, a bit pessimistic, and has a super edgy sense of humor. She also had killer music taste, and I love how passionate she was about fashion and clothing. All her hopes, dreams, feelings, felt so real and tangible, and I was sucked in from the beginning.
- I also admire what this book tries to do! Gun control is such a controversial and topical issue in this day and age, and I don’t see many YA books that tackle this subject, and even more specifically unintentional shootings involving children. Accidental discusses the dangerous of lax gun laws, and where the blame should be placed in unintentional, child shootings.
- I liked the support system that Johanna had. Her friends, and grandparents were a rock for her as she comes to terms with her involvement in her mother’s death. While there were some bumpy points in all of their relationships, especially with her grandparents.
Things I didn’t like:
- While I admire what the author tried to do with her discussion of gun control, by the half way point it felt so preachy. It took on such an overly political tone, and I feel like Johanna’s character did a complete one-eighty that felt extremely jarring.
- I also didn’t enjoy the relationship that Johanna develops with Miles romantically. Don’t get me wrong, it was a super sweet romance, but I feel like Miles was so underdeveloped that I was not at all invested. I felt so disconnected when they had deep heart to heart sessions, and I couldn’t really understand why they were romantically involved instead forming a really meaningful friendship.
- I also feel like the high school environment was poorly portrayed. All the kids at Johanna’s high school were very stereotypical mean kids, and their only purpose was to antagonize Johanna. They felt super unaware and uneducated, and very cartoonish, which is not the case at all with most teenagers. It felt like the author was dumbing down, and putting down all of the other kids outside of the main characters circle, to uplift them and make them seem “woke.”
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Accidental, but I did love some aspects of it. If you’re looking for a book with a unique and interesting premise, then check this one out, but otherwise you won’t miss much by passing on Accidental.