Spells for Forgetting: Book Review

Mystical, dark, and atmospheric, Spells for Forgetting is a masterful novel about the ties that bind It also happens to be a great addition to your Fall reading plan. Just in time for spooky season reading, this brand new novel from Adrienne Young is one of the most immersive reads I’ve encountered in a while. Read on to see why this witchy novel should be on your Fall TBR!

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Synopsis of Spells for Forgetting

Saiorse isn’t like every other PNW town. The town and the island it sits on seem to live and breathe, just like her inhabitants. Saoirse has secrets, as do most of the people in this small village. The island calls the shots, forcing her will on all who grace her lands. And those who test her pay the price. August Salt and his mother, Eloise, have been paying for his sins since they were forced to run away fourteen years ago. But, as they say, the island calls you back. Before he knows it, August is back on the ferry, speeding away from his mainland life toward the past. He doesn’t realize the past won’t welcome him back.

Spells for Forgetting Book Review

Emery Blackwood has been in pain for years, ever since August left. She understood why he had to go, but she hated that he’d never said goodbye. She searched for him for years, finally letting go of the idea that he’d ever come back for her. Without August, Emery was just a shell of herself. After all, the magic she’d used to bind them 15 years ago was stronger than ever. Life without him was half living.

When she spots him back on the island, every emotion possible pulses through her veins. How dare he show back up after all these years? Where’s he been? Is he married? Is he really innocent? All the memories of that night come flooding back. The summer August left Saoirse, there’d been a series of tragedies, all of which hit closer to home than Emery would like to admit. The same night the orchard August’s grandfather owned burned to the ground, her childhood best friend, Lily, drowned on dry land.

“I didn’t know that teenagers didn’t usually fall into that kind of love, or that there was anything unusual about us at all. I just knew that she felt like air to me.

-August Salt, Spells for Forgetting

The entire town turned on August after that night, convinced that he had something to do with Lily’s death after he’d had trouble producing an alibi. Only Emery was convinced of his innocence, and she’d paid for her loyalty all these years since he’d left. Now that he’s back, she’s not so sure he’s innocent. But what reason would he have had to kill Lily?

Emery is convinced there is more to the story. And, as with all things in Saoirse, there are secrets buried deep in tradition and steeped in magic. After all, every family has a book of spells on the island. It just so happens her family’s has the most.

Thoughts on Spells for Forgetting

What a fabulous book, y’all! I literally could not put this book down; I was hooked on it, desperate to know what happened and who did it. Spells for Forgetting has a little something for everyone. The mystery that lies at the center of the storyline is engrossing, and Young’s ability to dance and weave around events, both past and present, keeps you hanging on for more. She may just be the queen of the cliffhanger sentence at the end of the chapter. And the fact that each chapter was told from a different character’s perspective really helped create community within the story.

At the heart of the book is first love, a favorite romance trope of mine. My first love was intense and long-lasting, much like the story of Emery and August. The way Young describes their initial encounters and developing bond makes it feel like you’re there watching, part of the story rather than just an observer. And the tension between the two characters is palpable when August finally returns to the island after fourteen years away. Everyone, including the reader, is on edge wondering what will happen between the two childhood sweethearts.

“I’d been eighteen years old. I’d known nothing about suffering or responsibility or loss, but somehow, I’d known this soul-deep kind of love that I now wondered if most people never found.”

-August Salt, Spells for Forgetting

Like some of my other favorite novels, the location of Spells for Forgetting could easily be considered one of the main characters. Saoirse is exactly what I want in a Pacific Northwest small town. Ritual magic, small-town romance, life-long friendships, and deep family ties make this town’s heart beat. But a girl’s death changes everything about life on the island. Once a sleepy little fishing village famous for an apple orchard and the possibility of witches, Saiorse becomes cloaked in shadows. But the girl’s death was just the tip of the iceberg when hit comes to scandals; lovers of plot twists will enjoy this book.

this book made me think of this song

While it may not be the type of book you associate with books about witches, the witchcraft woven into the story makes the novel stand out for me. The novel is peppered with mentions of spells and spell books, tea leaves and trinkets, and an overall witchy atmosphere. There may not be as much spell work as some may like, but I found it to be just enough to tip the balance in favor of this being a witchy read. I love books about witches, and Spells for Forgetting combined witchy novel and contemporary fiction in a perfect package.

Rating for Spells for Forgetting

Overall, Spells for Forgetting is an unforgettable journey into small town secrets and first love. It has the perfect amount of mystery, drama, and magic to truly be perfect. I can’t say enough about this new book release, and I hope you add it to your Fall reading list. While it might not be the most witchy book out there, it certainly deserves a place in my Best Books About Witches, a brand new blog post coming soon!

Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House-Ballantine Books for my advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

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