The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

The Book of Accidents may superficially appear to be less epic than Wendig’s previous novel, Wanderers, but there’s so much more beneath the surface. When we first meet Oliver and his family, the story seems to be focused on a family under strain, moving into what could potentially be a haunted house. It doesn’t take Wendig long to dispel those assumptions as he takes the reader on a multiverse-spanning adventure of magic and terror.
While the story is filled with interesting characters, Oliver is at the core of it all, in more ways than one. He’s a special boy, empathetic and sensitive, but there’s so much more to him than that. Oliver can see the pain in others in a literal, visceral sense, and the world we’re living in today gives him more than enough pain to witness. Hoping to find some peace for their son, Nate and Maddie move into Nate’s childhood home in rural Pennsylvania after his abusive father passes away. Nate transitions from his life as a Philadelphia police officer to a Pennsylvania Fish & Game warden, and Maddie decides she wants to try a different sort of sculpture from what she’d been creating in the city. Oliver successfully makes new friends on his first day at the new school. Unfortunately, he makes a couple of new enemies as well.
If only things could level out at that point, it would be a typical family drama, and the story would be over. Thankfully, for the reader–though not for the family–Wendig is at the helm. The very enemies Oliver makes at school are instrumental in putting him in Jake’s path, and everything begins to fall apart from there. Wherever Jake goes, the collapse is soon to follow.
You’ll need to be prepared for anything to happen because there’s no way to go into this one predicting the outcome.
It’s masterful the way Wendig brings the disparate threads of narrative together. It astounded me when I was reading Wanderers, and it’s no less astonishing when reading The Book of Accidents.


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