Spellbook of the Lost and Found

368p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525429494.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—This lush and deliciously twisty contemporary Irish novel, set in Balmallen, County Mayo, population 2,400, has just a hint of the supernatural. It takes the form of the red, leather-bound Spellbook of the Lost and Found, which three friends find when their diaries go missing just before the town's annual early May bonfire. The temptation to call for "the lost to be found" is great, and since "every lost thing requires a sacrifice—a new loss for every called thing found," the repercussions of the teens' spell are far-reaching and profound. Readers slowly realize just how far-reaching and profound as the mystery unfolds and they learn the identities of the spell casters. Secrets abound, and many of the outings and adventures are fueled by high drama and strong spirits, including poteen, or moonshine. Fowley-Doyle is herself a literary spell caster, conjuring up a suspenseful and sensual ambience in the forest on the edges of town and in the remains of bonfire revelry. The chapters are narrated from the points of view of six different teens over time, and their voices and connections are immediately distinctive and relatable. They all experience losses, some of which are serious and debilitating, yet the overarching theme, if there is one, is the motto that Olive discovers written on her arm the morning after the party: if you don't get lost, you'll never be found.
VERDICT This smart and sexy page-turner that readers will want to devour and share with their friends is a real find.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 6000+ annual reviews of books, databases, and more

As low as $12/month