Around mid-April I saw Amy Rose Capetta post about her lovely new book, The Lost Coast on Instagram. I knew nothing about it before that moment, and within a week the good folks at Candlewick Press were nice enough to send me a review copy of the book! I simply couldn’t wait to dig in and read Capetta’s newest work after falling in love with Once & Future and The Brilliant Death. Something about her writing really clicks with me and The Lost Coast is no exception! I’m also looking forward to seeing Capetta at Yallwest next month.
Synopsis: 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.
The Lost Coast touches on elements of so many of my favorite stories. There are ideas and themes from works like The Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire, Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, and Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand. All of these stories focus on a small group of preternatural individuals with some level of magical control of their surroundings. In The Lost Coast those abilities range from elemental control over water, to singing magic. The powers seem to choose the individual based on key personality traits.
The primary coven in the book call themselves The Grays. When one of their number goes missing, they put out a call for help. Main character Danny answers that call, unknowingly, and makes her way to Tempest, California. Prior to arriving there she had little or no idea that she possessed magical abilities, but she embraces The Grays insistence that she explore her witchy side.
As with all Capetta novels in the past few years, the diverse representation is a key feature of the story telling. None of the primary characters are strictly straight. I particularly enjoyed the fact that one of the major players was a larger curvy girl who Danny is highly attracted to. It’s nice to see myself in a book from time to time! Because of the group dynamics in The Lost Coast I couldn’t help but read it as a representation of a polyamorous group. They all share their lives in a meaningful and beautiful way, though some girls have slightly stronger bonds than others.
Danny’s story is one of personal exploration and self acceptance. This is a story for anyone who has ever felt ostracized, or outcast. I will also mention that though the primary cast is all female, this book doesn’t have the anti-male overtones I’ve seen in some recent femme focused YA. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a bit of non-linear or non-traditional story-telling. Chronologically it does jump around a bit. This didn’t bother me personally, but may be an annoyance for some readers.
I can’t wait for more readers to read this beautiful story of self-discovery when it’s released on May 14th!
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