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Perfectly Preventable Deaths

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  405 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together…

Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains.

As distance grows between the twins - as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 30th 2019 by Hot Key Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
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Whispering Stories
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

Madeline and Catlin are teenage twins and have just moved across the country to a place called Ballyfrann, Ireland, to live with their mum and her new husband Brian who just happens to live in a castle. His ‘aunt’, Mamo, also lives in the castle in her own section. She is a strange lady who has visitors coming and going all day long and is at one with nature and uses herbs for ailments. You are never quite sure if she is just eccentric of there is something mo
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This book was phenomenal and atmospheric and I have many thoughts I will add later.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WHAT A FANTASTIC BOOK! Finally one that lives up to its absolutely gorgeous cover! Expect an unnecessary cheesy love-letter to this novel because I'm in awe right now and ready to scream it out loud TO THE WHOLE WORLD!

I honestly thought this would take me much longer to read, and decided to choose it as my Halloween book (if that's not a Halloween cover, I don't know what is). Little did I know that it would barely take me two days of reading! I am in absolute love, and I hate that no matter wh
Robin Stevens
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A creepy, beautifully written Sabrina-esque mystery about twins who are sent to a tiny town in Galway where witchcraft seems to be everywhere ... (15+ - anyone who struggles to cope with animal mutiliation should steer clear!)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nobody writes magic, anxiety and the strange awful power of being a teenager like Deirdre Sullivan, and this is her best book yet. There's an incredibly grounded realism to both the characters and the magic that make this story feel like its happening just around the corner, with people you know and love. This of course just makes the lurking horror even scarier. Deirdre has Pratchett-levels of skill at veering from warm human drama to otherworldly terror and back again. This is the book the Sab ...more
Gabriela Pop
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is -both objectively and moreso subjectively- The Best.
I have been struggling to the past few days on what to say in my review for this particular book simply because I don't think I could possibly find the appropriate words to do this book justice. Definitely not only one of my favourites of the year, but one of my new favourites of all time.
Deirdre not only revives the gothic, but she also redefines it and adapts it to fit a contemporary setting and to appeal to modern audiences wh
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I got a sampler of this book somewhen last year and it sounded like such a good and intriguing read that I knew this was one that I wanted to read, except it's not what I thought it was going to be really, I think I expected a little bit more?

I liked the idea of this book, I really did but it was just missing something, I'm not entirely sure what though, maybe it was just the characters seemed to flop a little bit. The concept of this book is incredible a dark witchy mystery but it w
Claire Hennessy
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, engrossing read with a narrator whose heart beats so close to your own it's impossible not to love her.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, irish-lit, lgbt, ya
Deirdre Sullivan's prose is so unique and so beautiful that I would follow her anywhere: if she chose to write a book about angling, say, or a carpentry manual, I'd still read it. Thankfully Perfectly Preventable Deaths, a witchy tale set in rural Ireland, is exactly what I want to read anyway. Sullivan chooses words precisely; her sentences often have the rhythm of blank verse. Yet they're unfussy, capturing the cadence of speech, and her images, while arresting, don't draw attention to themselves. Sh ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbox-books
Sometimes you open a book and you know from the start that it's a book that people either hate or love. This is such a book. It's too unique, too different, it stands out, it's like not much else I've ever read. It either works for you and grabs you in some way, or it's just a hard to understand story with a lot of violence, darkness and gore.

This book totally worked for me, although I always hope that a book manages to trigger some more emotion. The writing style is unique, although
Sam (she_who_reads_)
I having the hardest time reviewing this book- on the one hand I couldn’t seem to put it down, but on the other hand, I never seemed to truely sink into the story. The writing style takes awhile to get accustomed to, and the characters make some truely horrific decisions but I still quite enjoyed myself. If you like stories that include magic, witches, and family drama, if you don’t mind a lyrical writing style, and are ok with not having everything fully explained and with only hints at underly ...more
Harpies in the Trees
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Coming of age tale set in modern-day Ireland that deals with young love and growing up but with witchcraft, fantasy, gothic horror and a bit of fairytale in this intriguing, dark, and macabre story. Unexpected for me! I loved it.

Watch my review here:

Maddy and Caitlin are twin sisters, 16 years old and have just moved into an old Irish Castle, or as Caitlin puts its, a Murder Palace for all it's battlements. The castle comes with one fixture no one is expecting, and that is Mame. An ol
Chloe (QuothTheBookLover)
My Review- 

I really liked the main character Madeline, she was a strong character who made some difficult decisions throughout this book. She had a lot of conflict going on with her personal, romantic life as well as her relationships with her family. It was interesting to see her cope with the things that were thrown at her and how she dealt with all the strange information she learned.

Catlin, her twin sister, was a completely different story. I could not stand her, she
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had the slowest and vaguest start ever, I literally had no clue what kind of book I was reading and where it was going. This was charming, in a way. But also extremely confusing and it didn’t really make me want to keep reading.

After getting used to the writing style and after some explanation I was eager to find out what was going on, but having finished it I still have many questions but no need to have them answered.

Other than that I truly didn’t like the way Mad’s anxiety was han
I liked this book, but I did not love it. The descriptions of the Irish landscape were beautiful and the chapter names relating to the uses of plants for ailments were cool. However, it was at times quite boring and felt the ending was rushed.
I would recommend it if you were looking for a light, easy read with some mystery and witchy happenings though.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
*TRIGGER WARNING for disturbing animal abuse scenes and graphic violence*
A word to describe this novel is anticlimactic. It had such potential to be an amazing witchy novel full of mystery and intrigue, with a stunning cover but it didn't deliver.
The story was incredibly vague, the writing is described as lyrical but to me, it was a book full of very short sentences that either made no sense or repeated everything.
The characters were boring. Catlin was a domineering and selfish
Jenny (Bookbookowl)
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to Allen & Unwin, for providing me with a copy of Perfectly Preventable Deaths!

Twins Madeline and Catlin have just been moved to Ireland with their mother and new stepfather, to live in a castle. A castle they’ve dubbed ‘murder palace’ because of the girls who have been murdered on the mountain close by over the years. Madeline is worried about fitting in at the new school, but she wasn’t expecting the strangeness of the other kids, the grandmotherly figure living on the
Trigger/Content Warnings: Anxiety, animal death, purposely injuring an animal, animal sacrifice, mentions of child grooming and paedophilia , homophobia (specifically against lesbians), gory, visceral descriptions of dead bodies and mortal injuries, abusive relationship, domestic violence, and murder.

I've wanted to read Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan ever since I first heard about it, in a tweet about three witchy, Irish books coming out this year (including Other Words for Smoke by S
This ticks a lot of boxes. Plus it offers strong, interesting writing, a quirky narrative voice, and many compelling details.

E. Thomas
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I don't usually read YA fiction. (That's "don't usually," as in, "not since I was yay-high").

I'm more of a military history guy. Clausewitz is my bag, not Harry Potter. YA fiction? That's my daughter's department.

She's about the same age as the twins in Perfectly Preventable Deaths. So, when she urged me to read it, I thought, "Oh, well. She's a smart kid. It must have something going for it."

It does, in spades. This book is pure enjoyment. Cynthia, yo
Disclaimer: I receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"I wake up, sweating like I have been running. Rain beats on the windows. Dreams of foxes interspersed with screams. We're high up, but the mountains here cast shadows, day and night."

I have yet to read a lot of witchcraft plotline based book. Especially seeing it on YA.
For a YA book, I felt like this book was quite dark and gruesome.

Firstly, I like the writing style of Deirdre Su
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-box-club
This is a hard book for me to rate. I enjoyed the atmospheric and creepy writing style, and the overall concept. But I struggled to connect with Maddy (though her self discovery journey was lovely, her lack of connection with other characters made it very difficult) and the lack of explanation about anything frustrated me greatly.

Plus there is a couple of scenes around hurting animals - one post event discovery, and one on page. The latter was very hard for me to read.

Ironically the lack of ex
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My preference is always for a standalone book, but this one? I want more. I want a sequel, or a prequel, or a companion novel. I'm not ready to be done with Madeline and Catlin. I think, given how it ends, there is plenty of room to expand on this universe and I sincerely hope that more happens. Bring us back when they're 23 and give us more.

All of the characters in the book are compelling, even the ones that are briefly there - the Collinses and the twin's biological father. You get the sense,
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Deirdre Sullivan has served the darkest of dark chocolate YA treats here. Clever, absorbing and utterly unpredictable, I was spellbound.
I’m not usually a fan of heightened ‘witty’ teen dialogue in books, I often find it grating and forced, but this had me laughing out loud constantly, and nodding and just *grinning* away with fondness. I loved these characters. Loved them.
Was rooting for Maddy and her love interest with every fiber of my dried-up cynical
CW: animal abuse, abusive relationships and scenes of graphic violence

The strongest force of this story was definitely the atmosphere, it was what kept me going and I loved the description.
The writing was good too, at parts at least, because it felt a bit inconsistent, at times it was very poetic and ambiguous and then very juvenile again, which I wouldn't have minded, because it's a story about 15-year olds, that's just the way they talk, but again, I wish it would have settled for
Lois (thecarrotstories)
A mixture of Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Thriller and Mystery. I've never seen anyone do that all in one book.

I really like the concept of mixing all the genres together. There was teenage romances going on with the mystery of the town and deaths. There was also paranormal witchcraft activity that brought a thrilling excitement into the story. A castle with lots of hidden rooms and paths. People of the town having abnormal habits and behaviour. Normal high school
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I'm in doubt whether it deserves 4 or 4,5 stars out of 5. It is a really really good book. I don't usually like YA and I haven't read fantasy-like books for at least four years. The reason I picked this up is the rave I saw about in on Twitter and the fact the author is Irish. I loved it. The atmosphere of the book is so creepy it creeped me out so much I became afraid in the dark and all that. I loved the originally of the magic in the book. The plot was a little bit predictable and I sometimes ...more
Dearbháil Clarke
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book, but before going further I want to stress the main content warnings: this book has three quite gruesome instances of human and animal abuse and follows an abusive relationship, so take care. I knew what I was getting into and still, there's a scene towards the end of the book (p.295) that set my heart racing. Deirdre Sullivan is not messing around with this book, it gets DARK.

The atmosphere of this book is lush and thick, and Deirdre Sullivan's writing is so careful and comp
Adiba Jaigirdar
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is stunning, inside and out. From the gorgeous cover, to the lilty, voice-y prose that draws you in, a main character who is utterly relatable in her struggles to want to fit in and also knowing that she doesn't really, and the creepy atmospheric setting that is almost claustrophobic. I sped through this book in only two days and have decided it is the perfect book for October. Adequately dark, very witchy, lots of autumn feels, and of course very sapphic.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This book was perfectly creepy and I got exactly what I wanted from it - a nice spooky read to get me in the Halloween mood
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Deirdre Sullivan is from Galway. She enjoys acting, reading, writing, crafting and day-dreaming about the viking who will one day recue her from her life of drudgery. Also cake. She really, really does enjoy cake.