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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about Irish culture and pick up a bit about patron saints.
Great representation of bisexual teens: one girl falling in love with a boy, one with a girl. Positive take on feminism, and the importance of trusting others. Be true to yourself. Sharing your secrets can help you overcome sadness, fear, and shame.
Positive Role Models
Strong female teens who are open about their sexuality. Also refreshing to see different body types represented.
Violence & Scariness
Implication that rape has happened, but it's not described graphically. Memories of abuse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, heavy making out, clothes coming off, and mentions of teens having sex.
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Infrequent swearing: "s--t" and its variations, "f--k," "dammit," "a--hole," "goddamn," and "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (The Accident Season), is a twisting, mysterious, dark story about secrets and promises made. After a handful of teens in an Irish town realize their things have gone missing, they find a spellbook that promises to return what they lost -- but perhaps they should be careful what they wish for, because "not all lost things should be found." The writing is very lyrical and sensual, and there's a diverse cast of characters, including two bisexual teens, one of whom is deaf in one ear. Teens and adults drink and smoke. ("My parents ... well, they mostly just drink and disappear. That's kinda what they're good at.") There are references to consensual sex and frequent swearing, including "s--t" and its variations and "f--k."
Is It Any Good?
This is a story for teens who love magic and mystery. Readers will get pulled in to Moïra Fowley-Doyle's lyricism and the cadence of her writing: "I search the whole house. Between bedsheets, in the shower drain, under couches, in the back of the fridge. The dogs follow me, sniffing around as if they know what I'm looking for."
But it's challenging to follow the storyline as the narrative shifts into so many different first-person voices, especially when the narrative jumps between the past and the present. In the end, everything connects, as the characters face their shame and betrayal -- and the pain that goes along with it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.