Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: August 8th 2017
Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s Spellbook of the Lost and Found has a great cast of characters, but at times becomes convoluted because of said characters. After the night of the traditional bonfire, Olive wakes up unable to remember the night before. She isn’t the only one, her best friend Rose can’t remember either. Then important items begin to go missing around town. Whispers of a thief in town is the first conclusion everyone reaches. For Laurel and her friends, the world begins to shift beneath them when their diaries go missing. In a desperate attempt to get them back, they cast a spell to find what was lost, but it may have unforeseeable and lasting consequences. Hazel and her brother Jude are running from their pasts, but secrets don’t always stay hidden and these teens’ lives are about to collide.
The first thing that struck me about this book was the amount of characters involved. There are three separate stories unfolding at once, three separate narrators, and three groups of characters needed to keep track of. Early on, it was almost impossible to tell which characters were essential to the plot and which I could dismiss. Not only is it important to create narrators with distinct voices, which I discuss next, if you have a large cast of characters, it’s important to show early on who the readers should spend time investing in. Olive, Laurel, and Hazel narrator this book in alternating, first-person chapters. Their voices however are far too similar, especially early on. I had to often turn back to the beginning of a chapter or refer to my notes to remind myself which character was narrating.
I did really like characters like Olive and Rose, who felt more fleshed out than the others. More minor characters like Ivy and Holly, who did ultimately have roles to play, did not feel quite as well-rounded. I loved that this novel features so many female characters. There are arguable two relevant male characters compared to seven essential female characters. I also appreciated the different female relationships found in this novel. There are close friendships that are put to the test. Loyalty is tested and sometimes characters fail to do what is right. There are unrequited crushes where wandering gazes only end in broken hearts. And then there are characters who experience love for the first time, where the giving of oneself is both scary and exhilarating.
Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s writing is just as lyrical as her debut The Accident Season, but didn’t quite cast a spell over me like the first. Still, if you enjoyed her previous work, you may find yourself charmed by Spellbook of the Lost and Found.