Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books
Spellbook of the Lost and Found is Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s sophomore novel and like its predecessor, contains the easy charm of the Irish. The novel centres on two sets of adolescents, both of whom have cast spells to find things they have lost. These spells are successful in strange ways but rather more sinister than they were expecting it to be.
Fowley-Doyle, once again, combines fantasy and reality to tell a story that is at once heartbreakingly real and, at the same time, magical. Her characters all resonate with that raw youth that comes with uncertainty about your future, about your presence, and the pain that children whose elders have failed them feel.
The official summary:
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.
The friendships are what holds the book together. The plot is a bit convoluted at times and can get frustrating but the characters and the relationships between them are fascinating. How Olive, Rowan, Rose, Hazel, and Ivy are related to the other three teenagers (Laurel, Ash, and Holly) is a mystery that shifts and teases as though through a fog.
I also appreciated Olive’s deepening appreciation of her younger sister as a person with thoughts and opinions of her own rather than just a brat to be endured. There are also a set of very present and very much alive parents to offset the absences of others. They, are also fun characters, brimming with life and eccentricity.
Overall, the Spellbook of the Lost and Found presents a charming, though brutally sad, story about love, loss, friendship, and magic.
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