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Spells for Forgetting
Cover of Spells for Forgetting
Spells for Forgetting
A Novel
“Lush with secrets, magic, and a past that won’t stay where it belongs, this novel is (quite fittingly) spellbinding.”—JODI PICOULT, author of Wish You Were Here
From New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young comes a deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

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.
“Lush with secrets, magic, and a past that won’t stay where it belongs, this novel is (quite fittingly) spellbinding.”—JODI PICOULT, author of Wish You Were Here
From New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young comes a deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

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.
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  • From the cover One

    AUGUST


    There were tales that only the island knew. Ones that had never been told. I knew, because I was one of them.

    I stood at the bow of the ferry as Saoirse emerged from the mist like a sleeping giant tucked into the cold waters. The biting wind had numbed my fingers clutched around the railing and they tightened as I swallowed. I’d imagined that moment a thousand times, even on days that I wasn’t completely convinced the island had ever existed. But there it was, as real as the skin that covered my bones.

    I tucked my hands into the pockets of my jacket, turning my back to the sight of it. As if that would somehow erase all the darkness that had happened there. The last time I’d stood on the deck of that ferry, I was eighteen years old, and instead of watching it grow bigger in the distance, I’d watched it disappear, along with the life I’d lived there. My mother had kept her face turned away from me just enough to hide the tears striping her reddened cheeks, but I could feel in the center of my chest the words she wasn’t saying. That I’d f***ed everything up. And that deep down, she would never forgive me for it.

    My eyes dropped heavily to the pack at my feet, where the smooth emerald face of the urn was visible through the cinched opening. Even in those final days, she’d never spoken a word of any of it. We swore we’d never go back to Saoirse, and we hadn’t. That was one of many promises we’d kept. So why, after all these years, had she broken it?

    The only answer to that question was one I couldn’t stomach.

    “Sir?” The voice was half drowned in the wind pouring over the deck and I blinked, squinting against the blinding morning light. A woman buttoned up in the heavy nylon coat that bore the emblem of the ferry charter stood before me, hand extended and waiting. “Your ticket?”

    “Oh, sorry.” I reached into the bag slung over my shoulder, rooting around until I found it.

    Her hand brushed mine as she took the ticket, reading the stamp that marked the date and time.

    “Headed home?” Her pink nose stuck out from over the collar of the coat, her voice muffled.

    The word was like ice in my throat. Home.

    “What?” I stiffened, searching her face for any hint of recognition. But she was several years younger than I was, probably more. If she was from Saoirse, she wouldn’t know my face. She definitely wouldn’t know my name—not the one on the ticket.

    “Sorry, don’t mean to pry. It’s just . . .” She handed it back to me. “It’s not a return ticket. Don’t see many of those on this ferry.”

    I cleared my throat, slipping the paper into my pocket. “I’m just visiting.”

    The island wasn’t home, even if it once had been. And she was right. No one came to Saoirse to stay.

    Though her mouth wasn’t visible behind the scarf, I could see the frown in her eyes and the look edged too close to suspicion. I’d been given that look many times before.

    “Well”—her gaze trailed over my jacket and down to my boots before snapping back up to my face—“enjoy your trip.” There was a stiff uneasiness in the way she stepped around me, following the railing down the deck.

    Beyond her, the island was now a sharp figure against the sky. A pair of white gulls glided over jagged black cliffs, catching the freezing wind that had carved the land into the shape of hungry teeth. It didn’t matter how many years had passed, the...
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 11, 2022
    In Young’s atmospheric adult debut (after the Fable YA duology), “deep magic” runs in the women of Saoirse, a fictional island in Puget Sound. After high school graduation, Emery Blackwood hopes to move away with her boyfriend, August Salt, but when the island’s orchard burns to the ground on the same night that Emery’s best friend, Lily Morgan, is mysteriously killed, their plans to leave the next morning are aborted. All signs point to August as the culprit behind Lily’s death, but there’s not enough evidence to charge him, and he and his mother flee Saoirse, leaving Emery to take over her family’s tea shop, which dispenses “mystical brews” to help with love and luck. Now, 14 years later, August returns to Saoirse to bury his mother and sell her cottage. August’s return raises questions about what actually happened all those years ago, and it appears every islander is hiding a piece of the puzzle. The plot is convoluted, but Young entrances with the island’s witchy vibes, and makes palpable the unfinished childhood love story between Emery and August, which comes back to life after his return. Despite the bumps, Young casts a spell that will keep readers turning the pages. Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary.

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Spells for Forgetting
A Novel
Adrienne Young
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