If you’re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.
One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.
Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone 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 development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.
When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.
I felt obliged to read & review this book because of 2 reasons:
1. I won this book in a giveaway (thank you penguin teen)
2. I’m buddy reading with kat
If it weren’t for these 2 reasons, I would actually DNF this book. I mean, life is short and there are plenty of books out there, etc. Anyway, I think this book might be something John Green would write if he decides to venture into magical realism. But I think he should just stick to contemporary. I think this is also what I think about this book. It would’ve been better if the author just wrote a contemporary novel (no spellbook, whatsoever). For something that’s supposed to be magical (I mean it’s ‘spellbook’), it was pretty underwhelming.
I guess, one of the problems is that it’s kind of pretentious. It reminds me of the cigarette metaphor in The Fault in Our Stars. But who ever says such a thing?
Immediately, I knew this book wasn’t for me. I felt that this quote came out of nowhere. Just useless banter while I wait for something to happen. Unfortunately, the pacing is slow so don’t expect anything to happen within the first 100 pages.
Characters were unmemorable.
I remembered telling kat about the names, how they reminded me of ingredients to a spell. Turns out it was what the author was going for:
“A hazel branch,” I read aloud. “Olive oil. Rowan berries and a vine of ivy. Hazel, Olive, Rowan, and Ivy. There’s an ingredient for each of us.”
It was predictable and kind of funny but I’m still unimpressed.
Multiple POVs did not help either
Since the characters don’t have striking personalities (flat characters) and their names sound like plants, it’s hard to distinguish them from one another, making it confusing. If the chapters did not have their names on them, you won’t be able to tell who’s speaking.
Just to help you with your reading (if you do decide to read this), the groups are:
GROUP 1: Laurel, Ash, Holly
GROUP 2: Olive & Rose
GROUP 3: Hazel, Rowan, & Ivy
I think we can start an ingredient cabinet.
Even the parents were weird. The father is randomly reciting poetry and the mother is giving cryptic messages to her daughter. It’s so hard to like this book because it’s so silly (imo). I didn’t enjoy this reading experience.
I’m tired of constantly reading quotes/statements about lost and found things
And I don’t feel like typing those quotes here…
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad BUT sometimes you just want the plot. Unfortunately, the excessive writing + the slow pacing made the book quite boring.
The magic “spellbook” felt out of place
This is the part where things get slightly confusing. Where is the spell book? How did a bunch of different teenagers stumble upon it? Surely, it’s coincidental that these specific teenagers found it. What exactly happened? The story was open-ended and I’m just not satisfied.
Good things to note about in this book: the author’s use of descriptive writing, symbolism, and good friendships & romance. Great diversity. Story isn’t set in the U.S. and the characters are not witches.
Needless to say, this book was not for me. I like weird stories but this book was too dull for my liking.