Monday, July 31, 2017

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

Title: Spellbook for the Lost and Found
Written by: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Published: August 8, 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined. 

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips 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...

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is a book full of magic, mystery, and atmosphere. It's a book that will pull you in to a unique and engaging read. I didn't quite love it as much as I thought I would.

One thing I did love about this book was the prose and atmosphere the author was able to create. This is a book with beautiful writing. It absolutely creates a mood. A mood that you draws you in and builds a setting full of atmosphere and mystery. It's one of those books that forces you to slow down and take in all the words and their meanings. In addition the descriptive writing helped develop a setting pulled you in. I like books that help you forget about the world around you and this book did just that.

This was also a book full of magic and mystery. Much of the plot revolved around those two things. It wasn't a traditional mystery in that there was something specific to solve, it was note that the overall scope of the book was full of mystery. Same with the magic. It wasn't a complex magical system with specific rules that the characters interacted with (something that I usually prefer). In this book it was more about how there is magic and mystery all around us, we may not know it if we are not looking. It's a theme that I really enjoyed and helped to build an interesting atmosphere in this book.

That being said, I didn't totally love the plot development and pacing of this book. I got what it was attempting to and I did like the deeper themes but on the whole it felt a little confusing. I wasn't exactly sure where this book was going throughout it. I didn't know what it's end game was and because of that, I didn't really know when we were at the climax. It had a steady build throughout the entire thing but honestly that felt kind of problematic. It was just too steady. Even when it was all over I wasn't quite sure what it was all for. It just didn't make for a very satisfying feeling when I was done.

I also didn't love the characters. This is a book that has a lot of characters. And honestly, a lot of very similar characters. It didn't help that they were all named after trees. I had the hardest time remembering who each one of them was and how they were all connected. Because they were all connected. I actually did really enjoy those reveals. Some of them I saw coming and others I didn't. But I love when things seemingly unrelated come together in a big way and they did here in this book. The only problem was that there was just so little distinction between characters. There are three main perspectives here: Olive, Hazel, and Laurel. All of their voices felt the same to me. I would find myself forgetting who was narrating and who each of the other people were they kept referring to and honestly, it took me out of the book. I just wish we had one perspective or that the voices felt a little different so I could tell them apart.

On the whole, this was a good read, it's just not my favorite kind of read. It had atmospheric writing that pulls you in, and a plot full of magic and mystery but the plot fell a little flat for me and the characters blended together.

I give Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you like atmospheric YA in the vein of Jodi Lynn Anderson and Maggie Steifvater maybe check this out but if you are looking for a book with a great mystery and interesting characters then this may not be for you.

Have you read Spellbook of the Lost and Found? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I am a Fowley-Doyle fan, and did love this book. I loved when I figured out connections between the characters, and she just does "mood" so well. 8/10 is not bad though.

    1. Have you read Jodi Lynn Anderson? Her writing reminded me a lot about some of the Jodi Lynn Anderson books I have read. If you haven't you should check her out, I think you would really like her.