The Lost Coast

The Lost Coast

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...

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Title:The Lost Coast
Author:Amy Rose Capetta
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Lost Coast Reviews

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    so like, it’s the raven cycle, but it’s SAPPHIC, and also about community and love as a radical force

    exists and is published

    holy shit

    4 1/2 stars.

    follows Danny, a girl who moves to a small California town an

    so like, it’s the raven cycle, but it’s SAPPHIC, and also about community and love as a radical force

    exists and is published

    holy shit

    4 1/2 stars.

    follows Danny, a girl who moves to a small California town and joins a group of witches searching for their lost member, Imogen, after her new friend Sebastian dies. Amongst the Grays, as they call themselves, there are four remaining:

    , Filipina lesbian with chronic pain and knife magic. I loved this character and wanted more from her.

    , ace-spec and non-binary and coded as aro though the word is not used, which is weird). Her friendship with June was so excellent and I wanted 100% more. Tree magic.

    , black and bisexual and raised by a chaotic mother named Ora. At once quiet and a force.

    , queer and fat, ex-girlfriend to Imogen. Has sound-taste synesthesia and uses music to make magic. My favorite character.

    This is a book that depends, primarily, on a feeling of wrongness, a feeling of some imperceptible

    . Amy Rose Capetta’s writing is absolutely magical as usual, immediately getting the audience immersed in the atmospheric world of the novel.

    I was joking about the raven cycle but sapphic thing, but let’s be real — that is kind of what is so great about this.

    is interesting in that it uses a similar aesthetic and mood to that series, but at once feels totally distinct. The Pacific coast vibe is very different from nowhere, Virginia, for one; in what is probably a coincidence, several character elements feel almost like a direct response to that series in a way I really liked. Yet most importantly are the themes.

    Witchery in this book functions as somewhat of a metaphor for identity and it’s very subtle and very beautifully done. These six are outsiders, people who have not found their home in the mainstream and so have created a community of their own.

    I think as queer people — and also as marginalized people in general — we are often very alone. Being queer is an experience, in a lot of ways, of being the outsider; you grow up seeing everyone around you be one way and feel, fundamentally, like an outsider.

    but it’s something this book explicitly tackles.

    It’s about community as something radical, about love between people – and specifically between queer people, specifically women and nonbinary queer people – as something that can save and heal. In this book, magic functions best in a group built on mutual trust; the love between the five (six) witches is what saves and heals.

    I think the only reason this is a 4½ and not a five is because I honestly… wanted more? I think this book would have worked really nicely as a series — there are actually seven separate characters to explore here, and we only got four arcs. That’s an absolutely fine number for a single book; it’s just that I closed the book wanting to get that much deeper both into the existing characters and into new characters. Petition for a sequel that deals with June and Lelia’s friendship and also Hawthorne and also the ending dynamic.

    Oh. For another positive, the ending goes in a direction that I absolutely love. It is one of the more ambiguous endings I’ve read in recent memory but I think it’s going polyamory. That is absolutely what I wanted from The Raven Cycle sapphic thanks for that !!!!

    Also, Amy Rose Capetta’s dedication to her partner, author Cori McCarthy, was really wonderful:

    Like god anyone else crying?

    The point is that between Spellbook of the Lost and Found, Wild Beauty, Toil and Trouble, and this, I'm just going to call magic gay now and have it done with. And also push this book on anyone who wants The Raven Cycle sapphic (we’re not going to talk about how many times that phrase has come up in my tweets).

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  • Acqua

    . It's an atmospheric story set in a small town surrounded by magical redwoods, following a group of queer witches.

    And I loved all of it.

    The first thing I thought when I finished this book is that

    . I've read many contemporary books that dealt directly with homophobia and so contain

    . It's an atmospheric story set in a small town surrounded by magical redwoods, following a group of queer witches.

    And I loved all of it.

    The first thing I thought when I finished this book is that

    . I've read many contemporary books that dealt directly with homophobia and so contained a lot of it, and ones that ignored its existence entirely. But the contemporary-set stories I want are the ones that don't ignore homophobia exists, and that have little to none of it anyway.

    , not just because of the characters' identities, but also because of the themes they deal with.

    is a story about

    . It's a story that has a sense of recklessness to it, but also reminds you how important it is to have others to ground you. On the other side, it's a story about how not wanting to find or acknowledge your own power leads you to not notice your ability to do harm, and makes you dangerous.

    I won't lie, I knew I would love this book from the moment the main character first sees the redwoods and is fascinated by them. (You really can't go wrong with trees.) That mix of awe and longing and a little bit of fear - that's something I'm familiar with.

    , and made the woods feel magical, so that when the book got to that one sex scene in the woods, my only reaction wasn't "you're

    going to get ticks" (even though I still thought it; but oh well, it's contemporary

    ).

    The writing is also really good. I think the vague, airy tone that Capetta's writing has is much better suited to this multi-PoV non-linear contemporary fantasy novel than it was to a mystery like

    , in which it didn't work at all for me.

    It's not easy to develop many characters in a standalone that is shorter than 400 pages, but this book did it.

    They are:

    🌲

    , white, queer. She's the new girl in town, and she's looking for something, even though she doesn't know what that something (someone?) is yet. She tends to wander, and I mean that physically. As I said, her emotions toward trees were very relatable.

    🌲

    , white, fat, queer. She's coded as neurodivergent, she has sound-taste synesthesia (I love reading about synesthesia. My brain does similar weird things too), and her magic comes from music. At the beginning of the story, she's looking for her lost ex-girlfriend.

    🌲

    , black, bisexual with a preference for men. She's quiet and bookish, but no one should let that mislead them - she's the source of Witch Knowledge™ in the group and not to be understated.

    🌲

    , "femme as fuck" lesbian, Filipina. Has chronic leg pain. Looks soft but will fight you and win (after all, she is the one with knife magic). She has a big family and it's said that she was raised Catholic and is questioning her faith. I loved her.

    🌲

    , gray-ace, non-binary (she/her). Sharp and sarcastic but secretly soft. She says she doesn't want to date, so I also read her as aro (but I wish this book had specified if she was or not), and she's the "resident tree expert", and isn't that relatable

    🌲 Then there's

    , the mysterious, powerful water witch who was once part of the Grays, and is now missing.

    I loved most of this book, and I'm rating it five stars, but maybe it's more of a 4.5, because there were some things that didn't work for me. The sex scene had a simile that made me cringe so much that it deserves a mention (please don't compare body parts to books), and

    . On one hand, I get why the author chose to leave this book open-ended, but... I wanted to know how the characters would deal with some Things that had happened. Especially since

    .

  • Jessica

    I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review.

    I give this book 3.5 stars which rounds up to 4.

    I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations.

    Let’s start with what I did like.

    I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.

    I al

    I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review.

    I give this book 3.5 stars which rounds up to 4.

    I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations.

    Let’s start with what I did like.

    I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.

    I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe.

    Now on to what I didn’t love.

    There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place.

    As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting.

    I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory.

    Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential.

  • Julie Zantopoulos

    Review to come-but this was a good one.

    Imogen is lost and the Grays want her back and so they call for Danny and she listens. Rush, Hawthorn, June, Lelia, and Imogen are the Grays and Danny may be new to town but she's not new to magic or kissing girls. So, when Danny falls in with the Grays, the local witches that inspire a bit of awe and fear in the locals, she's right at ho

    Review to come-but this was a good one.

    Imogen is lost and the Grays want her back and so they call for Danny and she listens. Rush, Hawthorn, June, Lelia, and Imogen are the Grays and Danny may be new to town but she's not new to magic or kissing girls. So, when Danny falls in with the Grays, the local witches that inspire a bit of awe and fear in the locals, she's right at home. All of the Grays are queer in some way, and it's written on the page that they're ace, bi, lesbian, or queer. There are gender and pronoun discussions, discussions about being ace but still enjoying kissing, about not liking being touched, etc. The diversity that is woven into these characters is beautiful and respectful and I adored every single bit of it.

    Also, can we just be here for girls supporting girls (whether they're romantically linked or not)? The friendships and relationships in this book are pretty phenomenal even if there is a bit of a power imbalance within them. The Grays are using Danny to get their friend back and she's unsure if that means they'll want/need her anymore and still, they all respect one another. I will say that Danny's relationship with her mother was underdeveloped and explained and that really bothered me...but other than that the relationships were A+.

    Have I mentioned that the Grays are witches, that they all have their own power, unique and lush and important to the story? That there are a woods that has unnatural storms, hollow treats that Hermits live in, and climbable trees that beg for girls to explore? The setting is lush and beautiful and I was living for it.

    This is not a novel full of whimsical magic but rather dense fog that can transport you, ghosts that can entrap you, and a hunger for power that can lead you down paths you can't venture back from. There is murder and bloodshed, bones and fear and all of it is intoxicating. If you're looking for a feel good, everyone ends up alive and happy novel, this ain't it. However, it is a beautifully written tale of women, love, friendship, and the lengths we go to in order to find our place in the world.

    Everyone deserves to have love and friendship like the girls of this novel have. They deserve the comfort of touch and the closeness that is afforded to women and often not men. Honestly, such a stunning novel of diversity, badass motorcycle riding babes and soft ladies with power. I loved it a lot.

  • Helen Power

    is a highly literary coming of age tale of a group of teenage witches, self-named the

    .  Their leader, Imogen, has gone missing, and they’ve tried nearly everything to find her. But when Danny moves to town, she brings with her a unique type of magic that might just be what they’re looking for, in more ways than one.

     It reminds me a little bit of a literary version of an 80s

    is a highly literary coming of age tale of a group of teenage witches, self-named the

    .  Their leader, Imogen, has gone missing, and they’ve tried nearly everything to find her. But when Danny moves to town, she brings with her a unique type of magic that might just be what they’re looking for, in more ways than one.

     It reminds me a little bit of a literary version of an 80s movie, with a bunch of lost kids trying to find their place in the world, but in this book, they’ve found their place--with each other.

    There are many different points of view expressed throughout the book.  We get a lot of chapters from Danny’s point of view, and others from the Grays’, but we also get the perspective of the other high school students, which provides context for why the Grays feel so out of place in their little, traditional town.  To reinforce themes of magic in the book, Capetta occasionally provides the point of view of the trees and the ravens, which could be groan-worthy, but it somehow works.

    Capetta doesn’t only jump points of view frequently, but she also jumps in time. We get to see what the characters were doing and feeling years earlier, weeks earlier, days earlier.

      I almost feel like this style would have been better suited to a novel that has an element of time travel, but the back and forth really works to create a mystical, surreal feeling to the entire book.  

    You have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this book. 

     While it

    a mystery and a romance, the emphasis is on the language, and Capetta effortlessly elicits strong emotions from readers with her careful word selection.

    One complaint I do have is that

     I love books that have a strong theology that the author has created, a way of magic that just is, but Capetta didn’t spend much time on this.  It would have been acceptable if the magic of this world was simple, but Imogen, for instance, is highly powerful, and it would have been a stronger story had the limitations of magic been explained, or at least demonstrated for the readers.  

    Another issue I have with the book is that there are too many fascinating characters that don’t get enough attention because there are just so many of them.  For instance, there’s a character named Emma Hart, and we meet her halfway through the book. Her storyline is heart wrenching and beautiful, and I wish that Capetta hadn’t included her in this book and instead written an entire book dedicated to her story. Instead, her backstory gets glossed over in a quick chapter.  Even with other characters, Capetta barely has a chance to scratch the surface of who they are.  

    I recommend this book to anyone looking for an exquisitely literary take on queer witches.  

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  • megs_bookrack

    ((heavy sigh...))

    Danny and her mom move to Tempest, California after Danny randomly selects it from a map. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the choice but things are not always as they appear. Is something drawing her there?

    The Grays, a group of high school girls, who happen to be queer witches, also live in Tempest. One of their group, Imogen, has recently turned up without her personality and with sea glass eyes. What happened to her?

    Then she wanders into the woods and doesn't come back

    ((heavy sigh...))

    Danny and her mom move to Tempest, California after Danny randomly selects it from a map. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the choice but things are not always as they appear. Is something drawing her there?

    The Grays, a group of high school girls, who happen to be queer witches, also live in Tempest. One of their group, Imogen, has recently turned up without her personality and with sea glass eyes. What happened to her?

    Then she wanders into the woods and doesn't come back. She's their Regina George so the Grays feel lost without their Queen Bee.

    They basically recruit Danny into their group, discovering she has a power for 'finding' things, they begin their mission to get Imogen back. All of her; mind, body and spirit.

    I love this cover.

    I love the representation.

    I am intrigued by the premise.

    The format

    work for me.

    I was as lost as Imogen most of the time.

    I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I had to start a chapter over because my mind was wandering and I had no idea what was going on. There were so many perspective jumps and time jumps. I normally do not mind that at all but this just was all over the place.

    The writing is pretty but is it possible to be too pretty?

    In my opinion, the substance of the plot got buried under all the whimsy. I am sure there will be many readers who will absolutely adore this story. I just unfortunately was not one of them.

    If it weren't for the great rep and lush atmosphere, I most likely would have given this two stars. It hurts my heart to write this as I have been greatly anticipating this release. Alas, there is a reader for every book and I am just not the reader for this one.

    Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion on new releases.

  • Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    Sometimes it happens, you know, you have a book that doesn't feel like it's made for you, and while everyone loves it you don't know what's going on, well, that's me, lol.

    Sometimes it happens, you know, you have a book that doesn't feel like it's made for you, and while everyone loves it you don't know what's going on, well, that's me, lol.

    ⭐️⭐️💫

    : This book is really beautiful in terms of diversity, the book follows a group of queer witches so there's a

    , which's great and I always appreciate when an author writes about a group of girls so different from each other, but so united at the same time.

    : The places where the story takes place are so beautiful and atmospheric I really loved them, besides

    . If you concentrate a lot you can even feel that you're there, so I think great work.

    : I had a lot of problems to understand the plot in general, I started and the constantly POV change was already a problem for me, in general, this doesn't bother me, the short POVs can be entertaining and also make you go fast through the story, but

    . Because, being 100% honest, it was very difficult to understand something of what was happening.

    I've heard several people say it's a whimsical story and I agree, but maybe it was too whimsical for me.

    . There are chapters that are simply there and don't contribute in any way with the plot. There are chapters that are about Crows and others about some of The Grays and others are about Danny, and although

    Sadly,

    . Maybe because I was so lost in I couldn't concentrate on them, although perhaps in another story I would have enjoyed them.

    , and it hurts me in my soul to say it, but it's real.

  • Renee Godding

    Many thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    you

    Imagine equal portions

    and

    and sprinkle in a little dash of The Craft and a hint o

    Many thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    you

    Imagine equal portions

    and

    and sprinkle in a little dash of The Craft and a hint of

    . The result should be something resembling The Lost Coast.

    Between Californian red woods, magical realism and a witchy friend group, I had high hopes for this novel and was over the moon to receive an advanced copy from the publisher. Whilst it lived up to my expectations in some regards, I was quite disappointed in others, leaving me with mixed feelings in the end.

    To start off with the good: The Lost Coast largely delivers what it says on the tin. It’s a story of a close-knit, diverse group of queer witches that find friendship and acceptance among each other. If you want to get your diversity kick on; this is the place for you, as diversity seems to have been the first thing on the author’s mind when writing this. Both racial-, sexual- and bodily minorities are represented and you can tell the authors passion for the subject from her perspective as a queer woman herself.

    I also

    the setting: the foggy and majestic Californian red woods were a perfect choice to serve as the background of a witchy story. Amy Rose Capetta does a beautiful job of bringing the ancient trees, the vibrant foliage and the earthy forest air to life with her writing style that strikes the right balance between lush and readable. I had never read anything by the author, but I’d definitely count the writing style among the pleasant surprises this book offered.

    My only problem with the writing was that the author sometimes “overtells” things, especially when it comes to points she’s clearly passionate about. Her point will be crystal clear to the reader by the scenes she has just

    us, but she at times can’t resist to

    us the exact same thing literally as well. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of faith in the reader, or in her own ability to bring something across, but it’s unnecessary in my opinion.

    I felt this especially when the author talked about the characters sexuality, and the acceptance of diversity. That repetition, combined with the clear (and admirable) passion of the author, does come at the risk of almost lecturing the reader on the topic of diversity. Although I don’t think it crossed that line, it was close at times.

    That also brings me to my next disappointment: the characters themselves. Because the author had such a large focus on their diversity, I feel like some of the development of the rest of their character arcs got lost along the way. It’s something I notice more and more in the last year or two since the surge in popularity of LGBTQ+ books, especially in YA. I have a post on my website all about this coming up, so I won’t go into detail on it here. The short summary is: I’m all for diversity, but even more for equality. A sexuality is not a substitute for a developed personality, and an underdeveloped gay character is still an underdeveloped character, no matter the best intentions by the author.

    The framework for a great cast of characters was there: I’d just like to see a little more depth and development in them.

    Finally, I don’t feel the plot was as exciting or unexpected as I was hoping for, mostly due to some pacing issues. I’d have liked the beginning to be a little slower, to ease us into the different POV’s, whereas the middle part could have used a little more action. I did very much enjoy the ending.

    In the end, I think this is a book that will find a large and loving audience out there, even though it wasn’t a favorite for me. If you like books that focus on LGBTQ+ friendships, or any of the books I mentioned at the top of my review, ánd you enjoy those alternative witchy vibes: this one might be for you!

  • Dahlia

    Without even having read The Raven Boys, I feel like I can safely make this my answer to "Do you have anything like TRB but wlw," aka a question that comes pretty much every single month to the LGBTQReads Tumblr. Atmospheric, romantic, and wildly gay. I love Amy Rose Capetta.

  • C.G. Drews

    Look if you need a book that has a heart full of fierce love for trees and queer girls -- just go read this book and dissolve your soul into it. It was the witchy tale I really wanted

    to be and it's a love letter to intersectional rep (there's black, queer, bi, nonbinary, Philippine, fat, and ace). It definitely goes for a ethereal style, more whimsical and untethered. I really felt for Danny (I feel like she might've been undiagnosed adhd but the book doesn't say that) and her wander

    Look if you need a book that has a heart full of fierce love for trees and queer girls -- just go read this book and dissolve your soul into it. It was the witchy tale I really wanted

    to be and it's a love letter to intersectional rep (there's black, queer, bi, nonbinary, Philippine, fat, and ace). It definitely goes for a ethereal style, more whimsical and untethered. I really felt for Danny (I feel like she might've been undiagnosed adhd but the book doesn't say that) and her wandering soul and inability to keep out of trouble. But falling into friendship (and then into love) stories always have a special place in my heart.

    Also there's dark magic, ghosts, redwood trees and murder, so YA KNOW. Have fun.

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