Book: Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Genre: YA Magical realism, mystery
My rating: ★★★★
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.
I’ve been in such a witchy mood ever since reading The Wicked Deep, so of course I jumped on board another buddy read that centers around a spellbook! Spellbook of the Lost and Found is so beautifully crafted, that even though it read like a contemporary, I wanted to keep reading because this book is like one giant mystery after another.
I will admit, at first I wasn’t completely feeling this book. Like I said, it did read like a contemporary. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with contemporary, I just wasn’t expecting that. It took me a while to “get into the groove” and to get all the characters straightened out.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found is set in a small Irish town and follows 3 POV’s. Each POV has its own group of friends, all of whom have mysteriously lost or found something.
The 3 POV’s:
- Laurel, with her friends Ash and Holly. Laurel and her friends set the story in motion. They’re the original founders of the spellbook and they put it to the test. They are the most mysterious group.
- Olive, with her friend Rose. They both end up blacking out at a bonfire. When they awaken, they realize they’ve lost most of their memories from the night before and a bunch of other items. Olive is extremely loyal and caring. I found myself relating to her a lot!
- Hazel, with her twin brother Rowan, and friend Ivy. They are squatters in an abandoned home, but their lifestyle draws in Olive and Rose. They are also quite mysterious, and they are desperate to find what they lost. Hazel is my favorite because of her strong personality and sharp tongue.
The spellbook ties all three of these groups together. I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t want to spoil anything since this book is one giant mystery. However I’m going to list out the things I liked and disliked.
- The rep. Olive is partially deaf, Rose is POC, and there is LGBTQ rep. I am always appreciative of authors who seamlessly include these reps in books. It makes my heart happy.
- The writing. What can I say? The writing is gorgeous. The author left behind so many clues and breadcrumbs for us to follow. Honestly, I missed so many! I want to go back just so I can pick up all the pieces I missed. I tabbed so many lines that stuck out to me (photo below).
- The setting. I’ve never been to Ireland but it is on my bucket list. The way the woods and town were described makes me want to travel even more.
- The “side” characters. What I loved the most was that the non-narrating characters played a major role in the plot. They weren’t just side characters who didn’t serve a purpose. They weren’t just there. Have you ever read a book where one “best friend” was just there to serve as the “jokester”, or the “bitch”? Well, you won’t have that with this book. They’re all intertwined perfectly.
- The pacing. It starts out slow almost to the point where I’d have trouble picking up the book again. It really took me a while to get myself into the story. But once I did, I was fully immersed.
- The multitude of characters. Like I said before, it took me a while to get all the different groups straightened out. If you don’t like multiple POV books then this may not be your jam.
Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. The lyrical writing and mystery surrounding all the characters kept me intrigued until the very end.
If you have any other witchy/magical books you’d recommend, please let me know!
Thanks to the amazing group of bookworms that buddy read this with me: Julie from Pages and Pens, Melanie at Meltotheany, Jules at JA Ironside, Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer, Tiffany at Tiffany’s Rainy Day Reads, and Lilly at Lair of Books (she’s grandfathered into this lmao). Julie hosted this buddy read on twitter using the hashtag #brSpellbook!