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Perfectly Preventable Deaths

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  918 ratings  ·  206 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 begins to understand he
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published May 30th 2019 by Hot Key Books
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
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Whispering Stories
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
I honestly have no fking clue what the hell just happened.

Alright, look.

I wasn't really sure what this book was about, going into it, and I'm not entirely sure I know much better on the other side of it.

Here's what the blurb says: Sixteen-year-old sisters Maddy and Catlin have just moved to the isolated Irish town of Ballyfrann. Normally close, they find their paths diverging, as Catlin falls in love and Maddy falls ... into powers?

My run down would be similar, but I would expand on Maddy's powe
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was phenomenal and atmospheric and I have many thoughts I will add later.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the perfect Halloween book the plot was thrilling and captivating. It’s one of those stories one should read without knowing much about.
But apart from all the things I really enjoyed about this book there are two things that I didn’t like, and the main thing is the title of the book. I don’t want to give anything away, but it just makes no sense, I don’t even know how this title has anything to do with the story. And the other thing is the ending, there are so many open questions and l
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, favourites
Set in Ireland, this present-day folk story tells the tale of twin sisters Madeline and Catlin who, with their mother, move in with the mother’s new husband Bryan. Bryan just so happens to live in a castle. Also living on the castle grounds is Bryan’s great aunt Mamo, a bad-tempered ‘wise woman’ who’s perfected the art of glaring and who people come to see for all manner of ailments. The twins decide that she must be a witch, of course. The castle is near the strange little town of Ballyfrann, w ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*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 sister, Madeline
Renee Godding
3.5/5 stars

Perfectly Preventable Death is a 2019 YA-fantasy that was briefly on my radar around its releasedate, yet slipped my mind for some reason. When I saw it at my library however, I decided to give it a go.
We follow twins Madeline and Catlin, growing up in a small town where girls go missing and mysterious vibes are in the air at all times. Whilst Catlin explores her sexuality and feelings for a local boy, Madeline discovers an inner power she didn’t know she possessed.

Perfectly Preven
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
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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!*
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gabriela Pop
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 while al
Chloe Bailey
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 was so toxic. Even right
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was brilliant, but also terrifying. The terrifying part was a little bit too much for me. I don't handle horror well. I still can't put everything that happened in this book out of my mind and I desperately need to because it's scary and too much.

My favorite parts about the book are the narrator and the beautiful prose. I loved the narrator aka the main character. She is so sarcastic and smart.

If you like something spooky and scary, this book is for you. I would 100% recommen
I read the first third, but found the novel highly problematic. Not for me.
Harpies in the Trees
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 exp
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 I already g
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wasn't much o
Claire Hennessy
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous, engrossing read with a narrator whose heart beats so close to your own it's impossible not to love her. ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-lit, fantasy, 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 themsel ...more
Kevin Lobo
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I started reading this story because i really liked the dark cover of it. Blurb sounded really interesting and so does the title of the book. But story is not at all justified by the title. I felt the title and blurb was misleading. I kept on expecting something amazing at the end of each chapter,but it did not deliver what i needed from it. Story was amazing, charecters were really relatable and the Memo charecter is what i liked the most. Initially it was slow paced, but i liked the na
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
Reseña en español aquí

Actual rating: 3.5

Perfectly Preventable Deaths is a curious, weird book, much different from everything else witch-related I’ve read before, and perfect to read in October.

Without a doubt, its strength lies in its atmospheric setting. The story takes place in Ballyfrann, a small and dark Irish village whose mysterious aura will slowly trap the reader in its dense forests and its castle, and will make them discover its secrets along with the protagonists. This is due to the
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.
Jenny (Bookbookowl)
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 cas
Manon the Malicious
*4.5 Stars*

Delightful witchy book set in Ireland. Always love a Deirdre Sullivan book.
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 Sullivan, though I feel like a bit of
This ticks a lot of boxes. Plus it offers strong, interesting writing, a quirky narrative voice, and many compelling details.

Jul 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disgusting, disappointing, disturbing.

I picked up this book not knowing what I would get myself into. I knew it was YA and probably had mystical mythical elements. Let me spare your time, don't read it.

I will try to explain without any spoilers, why this book is so horrible, and why, after considering giving it two stars, I wish I'd never read it.

Apart from the fact, that there is some sort of an animal abuse part and I nearly threw this out the window because I could not believe how stupid the
E. Thomas
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, you were right.

For a start, i
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Deirdre Sullivan is a writer from Galway. Her books include Prim Improper, Improper Order and Primperfect, which was the first YA novel ever to be shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.

Her 2016 novel Needlework was awarded a White Raven and the CBI Honour Award for fiction. Deirdre's book, Tangleweed and Brine, a collection of dark fairy-tale retellings, won an Irish Book Award for Bes

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