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

Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: Magical Realism, Young Adult
Length: 366 pages
Book Rating: D

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program


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…


In Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, a small town’s annual bonfire is the catalyst for some very unusual occurrences.

A meandering tale with chapters alternating between three points of view, the novel has a unique premise that, unfortunately, quickly becomes repetitious and lacks any type of forward progress. The many soundalike names (Olive, Rose, Ivy, Hazel, Rowan, Laurel, Holly, Ash, etc) make is virtually impossible to tell the characters apart. The chapters are narrated in first person and with the exception of Olive, the voices are so similar, it is impossible to tell them apart. Much of the supporting cast is also somewhat bland with little to distinguish them from the others.

Olive is one of the few voices that is distinct and easy to follow. Her family is also unique and their interactions are truly delightful and incredibly enjoyable. Olive’s friendship with Rose (who is rather distinctive) is quite heartwarming and their text messages are hysterical. Olive’s sister Emily is also a breath of fresh air and she is wise beyond her years.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s does have some unexpected plot twists and a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. However, readers will need plenty of patience as they work their way through this convoluted, incredibly slow-paced young adult novel.

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