Fiction Book Reviews

YA Fantasy | Perfectly Preventable Deaths | Deidre Sullivan

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I really enjoyed Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan.  If you’re enjoying the new Sabrina on Netflix, you’ll love this!

Book cover Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan.

Sixteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfrann, a strange isolated Irish town, a place where the earth is littered with small corpses and unspoken truths. A place where, for generations, 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 her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. And when Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan is published by Hot Key Books (30th May 2019) and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.


Madeline and Catlin have very different approaches to life and wants and desires.  Mads is the nurturer, the introvert, whilst Catlin is outgoing and social.  Their opposites have fitted really well together … until they move to Ballyfrann.   Not only is it a culture shock for them both having moved from Cork to isolated Ballyfrann but the path Catlin chooses forces life changes for Mads (although I think she should have been treading that path anyway – even taking into consideration her need for scientific proof).  Secrecy makes it difficult for the residents of Ballyfran to open up and include the twins. 

Mads narrates and I had so much empathy for her as she discovers who she is, what she needs and the fear of not knowing whether to trust in herself.  I didn’t see her as broken but more whole than most of us are!

Deidre Sullivan’s use of short sentences really builds suspense and fear.  In fact, the sense of danger is palpable.  There’s so much closed off and hidden. 

I loved the raw and primitive feeling of this story!  Scenes are very vivid with power jumping off the page.  There is humour too which takes the edge off a little.

The themes reminded me of the Goblin Market poem.  If you like your fairy tales dark then Perfectly Preventable Deaths should be on your list.

Highly recommended.

Deirdre Sullivan is an award-winning writer from Galway. As well as the Primrose Leary trilogy (Prim ImproperImproper Order and Primperfect) she has written three books in the Nightmare Club series, a standalone Novel, Needlework, and a collection of fairy-tale retellings, Tangleweed and Brine. 

Deirdre also writes short fiction and poetry, which has been published in places like Banshee, The Penny Dreadful, Mslexia, and the Dublin Review. She’s currently developing play called Wake with No Ropes theatre company.

When Deirdre is not writing she is a reader and a guinea pig enthusiast. She still likes cake, but she’s been hearing some good things about biscuits recently.

Connect with Deidre Sullivan


Twitter @propermiss


Family comes first! I'm married with two son's in their 20's and have a little more time now to follow my passions. I love my role as an Inclusion Lead in KS2 and I'm passionate about early help. I'm a member of Bournemouth's Early Help Operational Board working alongside others to instigate change and growth. I'm also passionate about my love of reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet. I've been blogging for eight years at Jera's Jamboree.

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