Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young ~ 352 pages ~ published September 27, 2022 by Delacorte Press
A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.
Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.
August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.
What I Thought:
*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for this ARC!*
I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect when I started Spells for Forgetting. I have read all of Adrienne Young’s previous work, and loved it, so this was an exciting ARC to receive. It was an unexpected delight to see Young delving into the world of magical realism and mystery, and with an adult novel to boot!
I really enjoyed the timeline choice in this book. Often when the timeline jumps around I don’t care for it. I find it confusing and unnecessary. However, I thought it lent itself well to this particular story. Each foray into the past helped to shed a little bit more light on the mystery.
I also liked the choice to skip around between narrators. Our two main narrators, August and Emery, were fascinating. It was exciting to see what each of them was thinking, especially when their stories began to intertwine in the present. I loved that we got little snapshots of other side characters here and there. It always helped to make things clearer, and gave the island itself more depth.
Speaking of the island, I loved that Saiorse was such a presence in the story. The island itself was as much a character as the people who lived upon it. I thought that Young did a great job of giving us just enough background information to keep us going, without spoiling the surprise of the ending.
The moody, slightly creepy vibes of this book make it a perfect fall read. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery book this autumn!
I gave Spells for Forgetting 4 Stars!
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What are some of your favorite mysteries? Are you a magical realism fan? Have you read any of Adrienne Young’s YA novels? Let’s chat in the comments!
Love and happy reading,