Friday, 30 June 2017

Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-DoyleSpellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Proof) - One stormy Irish 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 much bigger, something she won't talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl 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 estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they're holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it's full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it's leading them toward things that were never meant to be found...
From Goodreads.

Trigger Warning: This book talks about rape that has taken place (though the rape is not on page).

I absolutely adored Moïra Fowley-Doyle's debut novel, The Accident Season, and I have been desperate to read anything her next book ever since. I am over the moon to say Spellbook of the Lost and Found is just as - if not more - incredible!

Three girls, Laurel, Holly and Ash have their diaries stolen, and pages from Holly's diary are read out in class. Holly is humiliated and unbelievably upset. So when Holly finds a small red notebook, held closed by a black elastic band, claiming to be the Spellbook of the Lost and Found, the girls decide to do the spell on the night of the Summer party, when all the teens have a bonfire on a nearby field, get drunk and dance. None of the girls think anything will happen, they do the spell just so they feel like they are doing something. But they get their diaries back, and that night, people start losing things. Sometimes small things, sometimes big. And they meet Jude, a boy they only ever see in the forest, a boy who is an enigma, a boy each girl is drawn to like a magnet, a boy Laurel has a bad feeling about.

When Olive wakes up the day after the party, she has lost her hair clip, her jacket, a shoe. Rose, her best friend, has lost things too, and is acting very strangely; distant, and not going to school. They're not the only ones who have lost things - everyone seems to have. When Olive and Rose meet Hazel, Rowan and Ivy, three mysterious teens that are squatting in a house on an abandoned estate, they are drawn to them. For they have lost things, too. Especially Hazel, who is desperate to get back what she's lost. So when Hazel finds the Spellbook of the Lost and Found, she and Rose want to do the spell urgently. A few of the others are wary, or think it's ridiculous, but they decide to do the spell together for Rose and Hazel. And then things go from weird to worse.

Oh my god, I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! It's absolutely incredible! It's so clever and bizarre, and completely gripping! It has the same creepy, atmospheric feel that The Accident Season has. Some of it is down to the spell, some of it has nothing to do with the spell, and all of it is bloody exciting! I was sitting on the edge of my seat throughout, desperate to know what was happening, and what would happen next. Oooh, it was just brilliant!

It's told from the perspective of three of the girls, Olive and Hazel, and also Laurel, whose narration is told in the form of diary entries. Olive, Rose, Hazel, Rowan and Ivy find out about what happened the first time round when entries from Laurel's diary appear soon after finding the spellbook - in the spokes of Olive's bike, in Rowan's guitar case, in Rose's bag, to name just a few places they appear. Diary entries that we, the readers, have already read. They realise that the spell worked, and everything that has happened since is down to them. But although Laurel, Holly and Ash are their age, and that there's only one school in town, no-one knows who they are - the girls don't call each other by their real names, but names they have chosen for themselves. The other five are desperate to find them, to ask about the spell, to get their things back, because the things that were lost have been found - or have been brought to the three girls - but they can't work out who they are. They worry about the balance; for everything that's found, there must be a sacrifice, a loss, but you don't get to decide what is lost, or who will lose. But they decide to go ahead with the spell anyway.

And I won't say any more. But this book is so full of mysteries and the unexplained! Before any of them know about the spellbook, Mags, a distant relative of Ivy's who owns the local pub, sends them the newspaper everyday, with two clues from the crossword on a post-it note - the answers to which told what will happen to the three in the immediate future. Various people Olive knows going into a trance-like state and saying strange things that make no sense. Then there's how the spell affects Laurel, Holly and Ash mentally; the things they think, see and do. There are other unexplained things, and it does get a little creepy. And you never really know where the story is going to go. There's nothing predictable about this book, because everything is a mystery. There was one huge twist that was just amazing. I didn't see it coming until just before it was revealed, and a couple of things fell into place. I was all "NO!" and then it was revealed and my mind was blown. It was just so clever, and I am in awe of the talent of Fowley-Doyle to weave such a intricate story. It's just wonderful.

I loved the diversity in this book, too. Hazel only likes girls, though no label is given. Both Rose and Olive are bisexual. Olive is deaf in one ear, and uses a hearing aid. Rose is a woman of colour who looks like her biracial mum - half-Indian, half-white Irish. All of these things are just part of who these characters are, but aren't the focus or important to the general plot of the story; of the spellbook, the magic, lost things, found things, and the mystery. Saying that, there are a couple of romances - and a few on-the-page, non-gratuitous, sex scenes, one of which is f/f - but the romances aren't the focus, just subplots.

This book, people. This is the book my teenage self wanted; the girl who was into horoscopes, who had a dream diary, teen spellbooks, an oracle, tarot cards and a dreamcatcher. Spellbook of the Lost and Found appealed to the part of me who is fascinated by the occult, and it completely captured my imagination. It felt like it was written for me. If you enjoyed The Graces by Laure Eve, if you enjoyed the movie The Craft, if you enjoyed The Accident Season, you're bound to love this book.

Fowley-Doyle is now one of my favourite authors, and I absolutely cannot wait for what she writes next!

Thank you to Corgi Children's Books for the proof.

Add to Goodreads



Published: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Corgi Children's Books
Moïra Fowley-Doyle's Website

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