By Diane Hoh.
Just before Megan’s 16th birthday, three of her close friends are involved in a horrific car accident. The same day, a wraith calling itself ‘Juliet’ appears to Megan from inside her bedroom mirror. Juliet tells Megan she died in a boating accident just before her sweet sixteenth, and she wants Megan to swap places with her for one week, so she can briefly experience life again. A disturbing proposal, but when her best friend, Hilary, becomes the next victim of an ‘accident’, Megan begins to suspect someone is targeting her friends, and she might be next. She hopes Juliet, with her supernatural powers, might be able to identify the perpetrator, and she agrees to the swap.
But Juliet’s world is terribly cold and lonely and Megan desperately wants to switch back. Still able to roam about, as long as she stays in the locale of the lake, Megan witnesses Juliet take to her life quickly, heating up her romance with Justin but alienating Hilary, and, to Megan’s particular distress, blatantly disregarding her warnings about the potential danger she is in. When a series of tragedies befalls Megan’s family, she realises she is the perpetrator’s main target. In trying to work out who is behind the ‘accidents’, Megan learns the devastating truth about Juliet’s past, and its terrible implications for her own future.
Much of the interest of The Accident lies in Megan’s isolation and impotence once she has given up her body and is abandoned to the dreary, solitary world behind the mirror. Juliet’s motivation for swapping lives with Megan, and the revelation of what happened to her when she died, are dangled in front of us whilst we flick through the pages in eager anticipation. But the finale, once all has been explained, is disappointing, with any potential horror sacrificed in favour of a neat and ‘happy’ ending.
It is scary when Megan first gives up her body, but the descriptions of her sense of isolation become repetitive and we quickly lose sympathy. The resolution is too easily achieved, with very little sense of fear or horror. For these reasons, The Accident fails to satisfy and gets a fear factor rating of…