Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | Book Review
The Children’s Book Review | October 22, 2017
Written by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Age Range: 14-18
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books (2017)
What to Expect: Supernatural, Magic-Realism, Romance
There are altogether too many teen supernatural dime-a-dozen YA novels available, in which the same story is told with slightly different clichéd characters and events, over and over again. They are usually badly written, with flat characters, insipid dialogue, and a stock set of props cluttering up the pages. Spellbook of the Lost and Found, happily, could not be further from this crowd. Dark, gritty, and fresh, it brings the horror/fantasy genre back to life.
In a small-town, steamy summer setting in Ireland, six teenagers are busy being worried about the things all teenagers worry about everywhere. Some are struggling with relationships; some with their bodies, some with parents or school or the future. All are uncertain about the future, and keen to learn who they are and where they are going. For six of them, however, this typical teenage journey takes a sinister turn when they find a hand-written spellbook and cast a spell to summon their stolen diaries. Olive and Rose mostly want to have a good time. Laurel is desperate to protect her friends from the vicious bullying they have been experiencing at school. Ivy, Hazel and Rowan are in desperate need of a home, a future. For all of them, the spell will mean changes. Some of them lose things; others find them. For all, however, the magic is not without a price, and the difficulty is in knowing when you are paying and when you are making things right. More than just a story about magic, this is a story about becoming, and about the sacrifices that always need to be made in life.
More than just the gripping plot, this novel is notable for the authenticity and immediacy of the atmosphere Fowley-Doyle evokes. Full of rich detail that breathes her intimate knowledge of her homeland, this story uses magic realism to show that magic is far from irrelevant in modern life. The story is also notable for the mixed narrative technique which ties the reader not to a single narrative perspective, but to three, as each of the girls reveals her story in turn and invites the reader to view the world through others’ eyes. The story is completely absorbing and well worth reading.
About the Author
Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish, and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughters, and their old cat. Moïra’s French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings. Moïra started a PhD on vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight, when she was told that if she wrote a story about spiders she wouldn’t be afraid of them anymore. Moïra is still afraid of spiders, but has never stopped writing stories. She is the author of The Accident Season and Spellbook of the Lost and Found.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Spellbook of the Lost and Found by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Fantasy, Horror, Magic-Realism, Romance, Supernatural, and Young Adult Fiction.