No Accident / Laura Bates / Book Review

One second, they were a championship team on the flight home from their victory tour. The next, seven survivors find themselves washed up on a deserted island, no way to get home. No signal. No supplies. No hope. Being popular in high school doesn't get you far when survival's on the line.

The elements aren't the only thing putting these teens at risk, either. When strange accidents start happening shortly after their arrival on the island, cheerleader Hayley realizes somebody here has a secret... a potentially deadly one. Nobody wants to talk about the last party of the tour, the party Hayley skipped, but something happened there. Something that means they might not make it off this island alive. If the island itself doesn't kill them... one of their teammates might. 


This book is set up like Lord of the Flies, but it doesn't capture any of the essence of Lord of the Flies. It doesn't grasp the magic of the island or the darkness of the characters. This is a book that feels like its meant to be profound... but it really isn't. 


  • Misogynist: In Golding's masterpiece, the crash-landing island is dominated by little boys. There is no element of misogyny. Why would there be? When would division of the sexes ever come up? So I appreciate that Laura Bates includes it here. In a survival situation, all hands might be needed to help, but when wrestling for control, it only makes sense for true colors to show. These cheerleaders might be just as competent as the male athletes they're stranded with, but the obstacles between these girls and success are steep. 
  • Grand Conspiracy: Being stuck on a desert island is hard enough, but... What if you thought someone might have deliberately brought the plane down? Or what if someone brought a grudge from before to the island with them? What if there was a murderer on the loose... that might be one of you? No one can be trusted--and there's no escape. 
  • Tackles Hard Topic: At its core, this book is a "topic" book--a book that tackles a "hot button" type of discussion in its pages. This book tackles a #MeToo story, and I appreciate that. The venue was wrong, I think--this wasn't the right story for the discussion at hand. It could have been handled better in many, many ways. But I appreciate Laura Bates's decision to go there, to talk about it. If we don't talk about these things, nothing will ever change. 


  • No Survival Instinct: I believe, deep down, that everybody has a survival instinct in them. Not that everyone will execute that well, but in an emergency situation, I think the body's first reaction will be to survive. Not so in this book. There was no sense of emergency. No sense of desperation. No need to seek food and shelter and water after the crash. At some point on that initial day, they should have come together, right? These aren't little kids, resigned to crying on the beach or splashing in the waves. They're teenagers--old enough that in much of human history they would have been on their own already. So it makes no sense to me that they didn't try to help themselves until it was almost too late. 
  • Droning: The paragraphs here are long, long and full of lackluster prose. The pages go on and on, but not in a good way--not in a way that reflects, perhaps, the monotony of the days on this desert island, trying to survive. The story just felt dragged out, unnecessarily long because it wasn't particularly complicated or convoluted, not even with the twist ending. 
  • Not Like Other Girls: The main character, Hayley, well... she isn't like other girls. Sure, she might be a cheerleader, but she's only a cheerleader to boost her college applications. She's not shallow like the others. She's not empty-headed like the others. She's smart, and she's a good investigator, and... She's every terrible stereotype about female YA protagonists, contemporary or otherwise. She's Not Like Other Girls, and it's just annoying to read. 



Fans of Goldy Moldavsky's Lord of the Fly Fest will appreciate this new group of modern teens tossed onto a desert island. Those who enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Alvarez's Friends Like These might appreciate the twisty unraveling of this party's aftermath. 


Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date: December 6, 2022
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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