Book Review | Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Genres: YA, Magical Realism, Mystery
Published by: Kathy Dawson Books (Aug. 8, 2017)
If you’re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.
One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.
Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.
When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.
What I Thought
I found out about this book when I was reading about upcoming 2017 releases, and after reading the summary, I just had to read this book! Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! I wish I could say I ended up loving this book as much as I thought I would, but unfortunately, that’s not exactly what happened.
I want to start by saying, I did like this book. It really does have a lot of good things going for it! The writing, for one, is absolutely beautiful! It is very poetic, moody, and atmospheric. I really did love that aspect. The mystery, and the entire concept of this book is really great, too.
While I did get confused keeping everybody straight (which, lol, no pun intended because I don’t think anybody in this novel was!), especially in the beginning, the characters in this novel all had something unique to add to the story. There were also a lot of different relationship dynamics, which I think a lot of people will appreciate. Also, there were actually parents in this book that were portrayed in a positive light?! Even though there were also parents portrayed in a not so positive light, it was refreshing to actually see at least one of the characters have good parents, because that hardly ever happens in YA! My only issue with the characters was, there were so many introduced, and because of the multiple POVs it took me a while to figure out who was who and how they connected to each other.
Another thing I liked about this novel, was that the magical realism was really well done! Throughout the entire book, there was this air of mystery. Is the magic real? Is it in their heads? And I really loved that. I really had no idea what would happen next and how things would play out.
My biggest issue with this novel, is that I just kept getting confused. Maybe it was just me – I don’t know – but I found myself, at times, having a hard time following what was supposed to happen. Plus, like I said, I kept mixing up the characters. I think Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s writing is beautiful, and she comes up with amazing stories, but there’s something that always ends up missing for me. The same thing happened when I read her other book, The Accident Season. I’m thinking maybe there’s just something that doesn’t click with the author’s style and me.
Also, another thing that bothered me was that there was quite a bit sexual content in this book. It was a little more detailed than I would have preferred, too. However, that’s my personal preference, if stuff like that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with it.
That being said, the ending of this book really made up for everything for me. Anything that I was feeling iffy or confused about was redeemed by the ending! So, yay!
Overall, this was a good book. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It might just be my personal reading preference though! I would still definitely recommend this book to fans of magical realism, or for someone looking for a unique, and complex, magical mystery.