This Book Almost Completely Dismisses My Parents

August 31, 2017

Stars peered through, bright, watching eyes, blinking in horror at the desecration that was to come.

This book has SO MANY ISSUES but it did manage to drag me out of my reading slump. So, for that, I’m thankful. The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden is a short and somewhat sweet read for those who are unaware or do not care about how family values are portrayed.

There is beautiful imagery, lovely descriptions and the author manages to effectively convey how terrible the big problem actually is. Whether it was because of the main character’s selfish hesitance, the misguided desperation of the victims or the phenomenal greed of the villain – this wasn’t going to be an easy thing to solve. However, there were some things very wrong with this book.


goodreads | bookdepo*

What if you found your own grave—and it wasn’t empty? Discover the dark delights of faeries and fortune-tellers in this gently spooky book from the author of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, sure to appeal to fans of Coraline.

Grave robbing is a messy business.

A bad business. And for Thomas Marsden, on what was previously an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself. This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune-teller’s frightened screams that lead Thomas into a strange world of spiritualists, death, and faery folk. Faery folk with whom Thomas’s life is bizarrely linked. Faery folk who need his help.

Desperate to unearth the truth about himself and where he comes from, Thomas is about to discover magic, ritual, and the uncanny truth that sometimes the things that make a boy ordinary are what make him extraordinary.

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To start with, there is the whole family situation and struggle that Thomas goes through. He thinks that, and this is a little bit spoilery, he’s found somewhere that he belongs. Someone with whom he belongs with. So he ditches his family without a second glance. His parents, who have raised, cared for and loved him for the ENTIRETY of his life, are suddenly reduced to people that he couldn’t care less about.

I don’t really have anything coherent to say, except to elaborate how disgusting it was to read about. I understand that he might be having an identity crisis and is currently unsure in his own skin – but it’s almost as if he’s refused to love them anymore. As though because they don’t have the same blood as him, they’re worthless. To me, that was just gross.

I suppose part of the reason that this annoyed me, so much so that it’s lost two stars, is because I’m adopted and can kind of understand his situation a little. I UNDERSTAND why he might have been written in such a way, and I UNDERSTAND why someone would feel the way that he does, but the fact that the author doesn’t do anything to address it or set it right really bugs me.

In the end, perhaps they do talk a little about it all and maybe he does comes to terms with it but, um, I honestly wouldn’t know. All that is obvious is that the only reason that they have reconciled is because Thomas needs them to do something for him.

Keep in mind that nothing they had done had made him reject them. They DIDN’T beat him, abuse him or restrict him from doing anything that any other good parent would let their child do. Instead, they took care of him to the best of their abilities and loved him with all that they could. They were honestly really good parents and didn’t deserve the characterisation that they received.

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Oh! I also had an issue with one of the lines because it didn’t really make sense:

Thomas’d never quite felt so alone. Not one of the folks who trotted and skipped around him as he walked, and certainly not one of the strange creatures that deadnettle had claimed.

But I read it a few times over, and I think that I finally managed to understand it? Anyway, apart from that it was a lovely book. I would have honestly adored it and the terrible things that were happening if it weren’t for the clumsy way that the ‘adoption’ had been handled.

It’s such a simple thing to have fixed – focus on how isolated or lied to Thomas felt, instead of simply forgetting about the parents. Have his attention taken up entirely taken up by the others without the degrading comments about his family! Ugh, it would have been so easy for me to have enjoyed this.


Even though all of this review is basically complaining, the rest of the book was actually really good. I adored the writing, and the portrayal of fairies was so original! Well, original-ish. I loved the descriptions as well. The food, the soft pillows and the villain. So for those, I’m going to give it a:



Have you read this book? If not, what was the last middle-grade book that you read? I’ve actually started getting more into it because exams take up SO MUCH of my time.

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  • Reply leaningagainstthemast September 2, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Ookaayy.. So, I had never heard of either this writer or the book until today and to be honest, I am intrigued. This little baby is going down in my tbr! 😂 I loved your review, by the way. 😊😊

    • Reply Fleur @ Fleur Henley September 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Aw, thank you! I’m happy that you liked my review, and I’m even happier that I introduced the book to you 😀 Thanks for popping by x

  • Reply themanylivesofaria September 4, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    This book is not on my radar but your review made me want to read it. I definitely want to read it now. 😁 great review

    • Reply Fleur @ Fleur Henley September 4, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you so much Aria! I’m glad that I managed to introduce a new book to you 😀

  • Reply Krysta September 6, 2017 at 1:43 am

    I think the idea of suddenly leaving your parents is one that recurts through middle-grade books. Possibly it’s a spin on making the character an orphan. You need to get them away from responsible adults so they can adventures so they just…leave. I have been reading and enjoying the Keeper of the Lost Cities books and a similar thing happens where the character goes to live with elves because she felt her human parents never understood her. She’s kind of sad about it…but not as sad as you would think. It’s kind of dismissed as she “got busy.” Too busy to think of the people who raised her! But, in the end, it reads more like a way to get the parents out and the adventure started (a clumsy way) than it reads as any sort of commentary on how kids should or do feel towards their adoptive parents. Maybe authors should reconsider this approach, though.

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