Spells for Forgetting

Adrienne Young

Quick Synopsis

An atmospheric story about an unsolved murder and a second chance at love on a magical island in the Pacific Northwest.

Publisher’s Synopsis

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. But 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.

Book Review

Adrienne Young is a super popular young adult fantasy author who ventures into adult fiction with Spells for Forgetting. While I have three books from her YA series Fable, Spells for Forgetting is the first book of Young’s I have read. And it has been hyped… which I find to be either a great sign or a bad sign.

Spells for Forgetting is a book about a place – Saoirse Island – as much as it is a story about people and events. Told through multiple perspectives, the tale focuses on a murder 14 years prior and the return of the suspected murderer to the magical island.

I found that Spells for Forgetting was an interesting, interwoven mixture of mystery and love story. I do not think I have read a book quite like it before. In addition, I appreciated the complexity built into the plot and the relationships between characters within the small town/island.

Although I enjoyed the plot of Spells for Forgetting, it was SO slow. I take back every other time I have described a book as a slow burn, because this book fully embodies that term. It felt like I read this book for 10,000 hours before anything happened. The only thing that kept me going was my desperate need to find out if my suspicions are true and know the love story’s ending. So if you like books that are a slow, meandering crawl, this one is for you!

I think one of the reasons Spells for Forgetting feels like a plod is the writing. Young’s writing in this novel is descriptive in a way that did not really add anything for me. I know some people have called this book incredibly atmospheric. I do think there was a bit of atmosphere built but found that most of the descriptions did not add anything to the story or characters.

Young created characters that were fairly well-developed and were complex. I appreciate when author’s put in the extra work to make characters complex and their relationships nuanced as humans are never one-note. I wish that Young had went a little farther. Some of the things that happened towards the end of the book seemed out-of-line with the characters’ development.

Overall, I enjoyed Spells for Forgetting, although I wish the pace was faster. I also think this book suffered from being overhyped, which definitely led to disappointment for me. I recommend it if you do not mind slow books and have managed your expectations.


Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Spells for Forgetting


Fantasy – Magical Realism; Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date
September 27, 2022


Storygraph Rating
4.06 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.05 stars

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