By Cynthia Bujnicki
“The spellbinding tale of six queer witches forging their own paths, shrouded in the mist, magic, and secrets of the ancient California redwoods.” —Candlewick
Published by Candlewick Press The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta is a magical standalone young adult novel ideal for readers of the LGBT community and those who love female-driven contemporary fantasy.
The Lost Coast offers readers something unique in the realm of magical realism and young adult fantasy by combining it with the contemporary genre. Following a group of girls who call themselves The Grays who cast a spell to bring someone of power to their home in order to find their missing friend Imogen. This spell attracts Danny, a lost girl who has spent her life searching for something that will allow her to stay put, a home, a connection to something deep within her. Danny had a troubled past and together, with her mom, they move to Tempest, California.
There is a strong message here about finding a home, about finding a connection that most humans strive to obtain. Through Danny, Capetta captures this need with refined precision. It is naked; it is raw; it is emotional in its impact on the reader because it is entirely relatable, making it easy to connect to Danny and her narrative. Moreover, the context and connection to the queer community make this even more powerful.
This also ties into the much-needed representation of the LGBT community. Each girl represents a different spectrum of this, and their diverse backgrounds give depth and humanity to how they identify and their internal struggles. Moreover, these characters do not shy away from who they are. These girls are frank; they are honest about who they are and shy away from the socially acceptable conventions in order to seek out their happiness. That is power. Labels have power; names have power, there is power all around these girls, and the way they channel it pulls the reader to them like a moth to a flame.
The story, overall, follows a steady pace. It goes back and forth between the past and the present, following different characters to build a historical narrative for the novel that allows the mystery to flow. It gives the reader a piece by piece breakdown of Imogen and her connection to the characters around her in order to build the intrigue to her disappearance. There is a segment late in the novel that is not overall clear regarding Imogen and her vanishing act, and this jumps at the reader without precision. It ruins the overall smooth fluidity of the novel, even if it later regains the momentum. (★★★★☆)