Provocative and Haunting | Review of ‘Spellbook of the Lost and Found’


By Cynthia Ayala

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Kathy Dawson Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about. Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets. When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realize it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .” —Goodreads

Published August 8, 2017, by Kathy Dawson Books, Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle combines magical realism with fantasy to create a thoughtful and addicting young adult novel.

There is something just so hauntingly beautiful about this novel. What’s so beautiful is the idea that people can become intermingled through the things that they have lost in life. That’s such a brilliant idea, and the novel itself works within that beauty to create a captivating story. There is are a range of characters in the novel that are all trying to figure out a mystery of all the things they lost and all the things they’ve found. All these small things they glance at but they impact the reader because they tie these characters together. But there’s a mystery going on here as well. And with a narrative that swaps perspective, it’s important that the focus, the mystery of the story doesn’t get lost in the middle of exploring who these characters and how they grow from what they’ve lost and what they have found not just in themselves, but in others as well.

Everyone lost something, and the way the opening showed that, was short and provocatively written. It can’t be more than a page long and still, it’s haunting. With such a strong opening that haunts the reader, there’s no surprise why it grips the reader, like a spellbook itself. And let me say this, sometimes, it definitely feels like spellbook with its lyrical writing and fluidity. This is just such an effortless read, making it almost impossible to put down.

There’s also a ton of inclusion in the novel. One of the main characters is bisexual, and another is a lesbian. The novel doesn’t trap them into clichés or tropes but rather explores who they are inside and out of those distinctions. This makes them vibrant characters adding depth to the novel and the characters. They are who they are without shame, and that’s how it should be. But there’s more. I don’t want to go into for fear of spoiling the novel and the enjoyment but the book also tackles disabilities, racism, and rape culture, and together, they all make the story even more of a powerful beast.

At the end of the day, this is certainly one fantastic novel that leaves such a mark on the reader. It’s beautiful, lyrical and a delight to read and get lost in. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

Page count: 368pp

Age Range: 13 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-5254-2949-4

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

List Price:  $17.99

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