The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta
Published by Candlewick Press on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ, Magic, Witches, Young Adult
Length: 352 pages Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
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Danny didn't know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they're ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn't just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I really, really enjoy Capetta’s writing style. If you’ve been around this blog before, you’ve heard me babble about how much I enjoyed Echo After Echo. This book has a similar feel in its characters, but the aesthetic of a town among the Redwoods feels so vibrant and alive. Capetta is a master of atmosphere, and I fall into her books so easily. I am here for anything she writes. Even when the story or the characters aren’t amazing, her writing style gets me to the end easily.
With the same characteristic as Echo After Echo, The Lost Coast was a book I could have easily read in one sitting. In fact, the only reason I didn’t is because we’re in the process of packing up all our possession as I write this, and I’ve been stealing time to read. Still, I found myself pushing my self-imposed boundaries because I didn’t want to put it down. I love Tempest, the way it seems to settle into the land. I love the variety of buildings and people. I love how the students at school seem to speak with one voice, carving out only the Greys and Danny. It’s a whispering place that feels old and clouded with cool fog and falling crow feathers and basically I’m just a sucker for any witch story set on the Pacific Coast.
The story line is a little lose here. I will admit – The Lost Coast feels like you’re going in circles, and once the secret is revealed… it’s a bit anti-climatic. The ending left me wondering what happened to Danny after the story. It was interesting to follow a protagonist on the edge of things: Danny works with the Greys, but I never felt like she truly became one of them. Therefore, the relationships we see are between other people, and I personally didn’t feel any emotional attachment or investment in Danny herself. I don’t think we got to know any of the characters deeply enough to really love them. Vague curiosity, but not attachment.
For the feel of this novel, Capetta gets full marks. But the story tried to do a lot of things and they all jumbled together and tripped over one another. It could have been a little better developed and a little more depth would have been nice. It was almost there – it was so close – but didn’t quite make it. I loved the feel of this book, but the story wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Still, if you like that witchy aesthetic and books like The Price Guide to the Occult and The Wicked Deep, you simply must read this one. Tack on the many shades of LGBTQ+ rep here, and it’s a beautiful thought. If you’re looking for yourself in YA magical realism, you may just find yourself in one of the Greys.
The Lost Coast stays on the shelf!
I think that, in rereading this, I may pick up a little more of the story and pick up some of the things that bothered me in the first read. I’m not in the best place at the moment to pluck the finer details of things when I read. Besides all that, The Lost Coast is a short book and I really like A.R. Capetta (have I mentioned) so a quick re-read sounds good. For now, this book is a keeper.
Do you believe in magic? I often find myself struggling with that – I so desperately want to believe, but I haven’t seen any evidence, so I have to be sensible. What about you? Let me know in the comments!