Genre: Magical Realism, YA Published: Kathy Dawson Books, june 2017 My Rating: 3/5 stars
Here is the thing; i read this book twice in a few days. The first time I did not enjoy it; it did not grab my attention, leading to me missing important clues to understanding the story. When I got close to the end I was so confused that I decided to start all over, in order to understand it better. The fact that I even took the time to read it a second time says enough about how much the premise intrigued me, but the fact that I had to read it twice to understand it probably does not speak well for the story itself.
The second time things fell into place and I could appreciate the build up and intertwining that Moira Fowley-Doyle did in this book.
This leaves me torn on the rating to give to this book; the first around I would have given it a 2 star-rating, the second time probably a 4. Middling it out; I think this was a 3 to 3,5 star read for me all in all.
- the premise! Like I said; i was so intrigued by the premise that I actually took the effort of reading this book twice to get it.
- the atmosphere. This read to me like a "fall-read" (even though it takes place in summer, oops). It is very atmospheric and has a mysterious, witchy vibe to it. The mysterious spellbook, the lists of lost and found items and the characters having their own family stories give this book a very "something-is-boiling-under-the-surface-feel".
- the family-dynamics. Not a lot of YA books include good family dynamics lately. The spellbook absolutely did nail this. This book deals with themes like alcohol-abuse, death, guilt and the bond between sisters.
- the LGBTQ+ representation. This book features straight, lesbian and bisexual relationships in a way that is very natural and non-heavy handed. In my opinion: this is the best way to write LGBTQ+ rep. and I very much appreciate it for this.
- there are a lot of characters. The story is told from 3 different perspectives, which in my opinion sounded quite alike most of the time. All 3 characters have their own different friendgroup, which makes for a lot of characters, right from the start, that I had trouble distinguishing between.
- the story can be pretty confusing the first time around. It starts of with the three narrative points, seemingly having no overlap with each other. Only about 200 pages in you start to see where these intertwine.
The main point that makes it confusing was the fact that (SPOILER!!) the three storylines don't take place in the same time period. I am usually pretty good at picking up these kind of things in advance, but I was confused by this one.
- You will not get "full closure" with this book.
This story does not wrap itself up in a nice bow and there will be unanswered questions in the end. There is no explanation for the magic (if there actually was magic to begin with) and not all personal questions the characters have are answered. Personally I liked this; in life, not all questions are answered. But I do see how this could be an issue for some people.
All in all, I don't recommend this book to everyone, but if the premise intrigues you and you are willing to put in some effort reading it; definitely go for it!
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