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Wednesday is Recommends-day

Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moira Fowley-Doyle

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One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, 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 realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found.

(Summary/photo credit: Goodreads.com)


My Review

4.5/5 ****

 

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I knew it was targeted toward a YA audience, and that it was so-called “magical realism.”

It isn’t something that I would’ve normally gone for, but I had received the e-ARC from Penguin’s First-to-Read program and I had heard good things about it.

When I started reading it, for the first fifty or so pages, I really didn’t think I would end up finishing it. I thought the writing was strong, but the story seemed a bit fluffy; as I kept reading and the story began to get more complex and interesting.

The novel is told from three different viewpoints. Each person’s story contains several secondary characters as well. It was a big cast, and a lot to keep track of before I caught the rhythm.

The number of POV’s and secondary characters reminded me of a book that I read earlier this year called Into The Water, by Paula Hawkins. I didn’t care all that much for that book, and I figured Spellbook would end up the same.

I was pleasantly surprised. After the first few chapters and once I finally got a sense of whom everyone was in relation to whom the story really started to take off.

As I said the writing was very good. I think the author did an excellent job portraying these young people accurately. The descriptions of emotion and setting were very atmospheric without being over done or ridiculous.

I think that if an author can make you want to visit a place based on their descriptiveness then they have done an amazing job.

In the beginning of the novel when Olive is talking about getting drunk at the town’s annual bonfire and losing a shoe and a hair clip I wanted to roll my eyes into the back of my head. I thought this book is just going to be about some kids getting wasted and having sex with some magic thrown in.

I am glad that I had mentally committed to finishing the book in order to write a review, because if it had been something that I picked up on my own I probably would’ve stopped right there.

While the book does contain some sex and teenagers getting drunk, it is much more than that. The mystery at the heart of the novel is compelling and the characters were genuine.

At some point after the first quarter of the novel, I started to care about Rose and Olive, I wanted to know more about how Hazel, Rowan, and Ivy ended up in their current predicament, and I wanted to figure out who exactly Laurel, Ash, and Holly were in real life. I wanted them to find their lost things, and figure out what exactly was going on in Balmallen.

There were points in the story when I thought I had figured it out and was then thrown a curveball. There are some really great twists in the story. The kind that make you say Whaaaatttt! And have you going back and re-reading the last several paragraphs.

The only negative that I can say is that I think the author stretched out the end a bit too much. In e-format it was 363 pages and I thought a good fifty pages at least could’ve been shaved off.

Other than that I really enjoyed this novel and I have already thought of a few people that I will recommend it to.


 

Has anyone else read this one yet?

 

Happy Reading!!!

-Nina

1 thought on “Wednesday is Recommends-day”

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