“But sometimes lost is where you need to be for a while.”
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.
DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
EXPECTED MAY 14, 2019
CW: mild body horror, homophobia, smoking, nudity, disordered eating, death of a loved one, underage drinking, on page sex
Like I tweeted a few days ago: as a queer girl from Michigan, I needed and adored every last word of this. Every last word.
It’s a surprisingly quiet novel in some ways, despite the magic running through it all. This isn’t a story about saving the world, it isn’t the beginning of a series too big for just one book, it isn’t something with the stakes so high that you’re on the edge of your seat and worried one mistake will send everything crashing down.
It’s a story about witches and about love and about finding yourself at home even when you’ve uprooted everything. It’s about making and breaking trust, and it’s about finding purpose and peace.
I will say this before I launch into the rest of what I loved: I do wish the characters had had a little more depth. As the story progressed, we got to finally see who they really were, especially in the ways that Imogen tended to bring them to life and grant them confidence in themselves, but at first, they really did feel kind of ephemeral, even Danny, whose POV is the only first person POV in the novel and should have felt a little closer and easier to read as a result. It frustrated me enough that this is where I took away a star.
But with that said, it was beautiful otherwise. For one, the prose was stunning, especially in the third-person, non-human POVs. It had a lyrical, haunting quality to it that suited the fog and the towering redwoods of the coast, and it made everything the Grays did in their sleepy little town feel all the more special and worth cherishing. It gave this book life in a way that takes talent and patience and an eye for stringing the world together in delicate, lovely pieces, and I really appreciated it.
There was also an incredibly diverse cast. Danny is queer, in her own terms. Hawthorn is a black bisexual girl. June is a Filipino femme lesbian. Lelia is nonbinary and gray-asexual. Rush is fat and queer. Imogen never adheres to any labels, but she’s shown to be attracted to other girls as well. All of them are so open and frank about themselves in this way, and their confidence actually almost had me in tears. I can’t imagine reading this when I was in high school and still grappling with what it meant once I realized I was not straight. Having grown up in a relatively conservative house, in a rural conservative area, I was terrified, but now I’m imagining the confidence and comfort this could have given me, and I can only hope this gives other queer girls a feeling of comfort and belonging too.
And of course, the setting had a life of its own. This ties back to the prose in some ways; the setting wouldn’t have been half as enchanting without the words that so smoothly crafted it. But it really was amazing. You felt that those massive redwoods had lives humans, even witches, can’t quite comprehend. You felt some of the pressures of a small town, where everyone seems to know everything, except the secrets that matter most. You got lost in the fog and the magic and it all blended together and carried you somewhere else, if only for a little while, if only just long enough.
In some ways, I’m at a loss for what else to say, because this was a book after my own heart, one that would have meant even more to me if it’d existed in my hands just a few years earlier. But it still means so much now, just in a different way, and I can only hope there are other queer kids out there who share this feeling.
And if you want to visit the Lost Coast and the witches that call it home, your chance is coming. It releases tomorrow, May 14th. You have just a few hours left to preorder it if you’re reading this on the 13th, and then after that, it will be out in the wild with its gorgeous rainbow cover and the incredible pages inside. I honestly can’t recommend it enough, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if not more, if you decide to read it. What more could I wish for, honestly?
Have you had a chance to read The Lost Coast? Are you planning to pick it up once it comes out? Let’s talk!