Thursday, October 6, 2022

Book Review: Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 
Goodreads says, "A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love. Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.  But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget. August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. 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 his past that has never healed—Emery.  The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all."


Saoirse is a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and its residents are a quirky and close-knit bunch of people. August Salt left Saoirse fourteen years ago and had no plans to return until his mother's untimely death brought him back. His mother would like her ashes spread on Saoirse, so he is back where he grew up and must face his complicated past. August was accused of murdering Lily Morgan, and once accused, he and his mother left the island for good to start over. Lily's killer was never found. Now that he is back, various townspeople are extremely unhappy with this, except for Emery Blackwood.  She has spent most of her teen years dating August and has never really gotten over him. His return stirs up a lot of complicated feelings. On top of this mystery surrounding Lily's death, there's also the fact that the women on Saoirse are all witches and dabble in magic. This definitely adds to the mystery and atmosphere on Saoirse.  Adrienne Young's adult debut, Spells for Forgetting, is a somewhat compelling mystery filled with magical realism and a complicated romance.

I really enjoyed Emery Blackwood from the start of Spells for Forgetting. Her family's tea house is definitely a place I'd like to visit and spend time in. She hasn't forgotten her romance with August and his return definitely stirs up feelings that she has been trying to forget for a long time. The question is does he still feel the same? The chapters also jump to August's point of view, which was also well done and I really enjoyed their complicated relationship. 

Young is talented in that she really did a good job with the setting of Saoirse and made it spooky, atmospheric, and at times, the island became a character in and of itself. The magical realism was also well done in Spells for Forgetting although I do wish it played a more dominant role. The murder mystery, which really took off in the second half of the book, definitely added to the spooky vibe on the island.

I have two issues with Spells for Forgetting. One is that the pacing was off. At times I felt the novel definitely trudged along slowly. Secondly, I wasn't sure if Young was writing for a young adult audience. Halfway through the book, I went to go check if I was actually reading a YA novel. To be honest it felt like it. I am not sure she bridged the gap completely between adult and young adult and it definitely shows in her adult debut as the dialogue also felt immature at times.  Maybe Spells for Forgetting has crossover appeal?

Needless to say, while this was definitely a fairly entertaining and atmospheric read for the fall season, it wasn't my favorite of the witchy reads.  Fans of Young's young adult novels will probably appreciate this one the most.  So, are you a fan of Adrienne Young? Have you read Spells for Forgetting? Let me know in the comments below.  


  1. I love magical realism in stories, but I think I too would be a bit disappointed that this was supposed to be an adult novel and it read at times like YA!

    1. It definitely read more like a YA novel, but I'm curious what you think. Let me know if you read it! Thanks for dropping by, Angela.


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