The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta
The spellbinding tale of six queer witches forging their own paths, shrouded in the mist, magic, and secrets of the ancient California redwoods.
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. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.
This might be a bit hard for me to review. It’s the type of book where not a ton happens, but what happens isn’t really what I can write about. I will say right off that it’s a very magical book and it surprised me how much I liked it when I sometimes struggle with books like this. I’m a fan of more fast paced books and this isn’t one of those.
Danny and her mom were living in a small town in Michigan. Danny started to feel this weird pull. She would wander without thinking about where she was going or who she was with. She would just disappear. Her mom wasn’t thrilled with all the girls she was kissing either. They decided that a move might help. When looking at a map of the US, Danny picked Tempest, California without knowing anything about it. She just knew she needed to be there.
I loved reading about Danny’s vision of California for the first time. Especially the redwoods. There is a quote early on in the book that really stuck out to me. I have this exact feeling, but in Southern California and not Northern. I don’t believe there was a spell or anything, but I feel a pull there and no where has ever felt like home as much.
I’m joking, but the truth is I feel every difference between this place and the one where I grew up. The food is better. The Mexican food is infinitely better. People smile at strangers. But there’s a difference that I don’t know how to talk about, something in the air that must have a chemical interaction with my blood.
The Grays are a group of queer witches from Tempest that practice magic in the woods by their homes. One of the girls, the strongest, Imogen, went missing in the woods. The rest of the Grays cast a spell to find someone that can help them find Imogen. That person ends up being Danny. She didn’t know she had magic, but the Grays helped her find it. The book weaves through time and perspective to figure out the mystery of where Imogen went, and why two people have been killed since Danny showed up.
The atmosphere in the book was so perfect. The woods, the massive trees, and the fog. I was definitely pulled into the mystery, but I also really liked all the people. Maybe not Danny’s mom so much, but that was because it felt like she thought Danny kissing girls was a phase or her acting out. But everyone else. They were very open about their sexuality and there is sex in the book. While Danny questions some of her choices, there is never really any shame for it except from her mom. And that was just a small part.
I could go over each character, but I feel like it’s important for you, the reader, to learn about them slowly while reading the book. The diversity was great. None of them were perfect and they made mistakes. And I always appreciate a book that shows teenagers as the imperfect people that they are (or adults).
I ended up giving this book 4 stars. Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy for review. Quote above is taken from an arc and may change before final publication.
Have you read The Lost Coast? Have you read anything else by Amy Rose Capetta? Do you generally like slow paced, lyrical writing or are you like me and enjoy a faster pace?