The Lost Coast

The Lost Coast

by A. R. Capetta
The Lost Coast

The Lost Coast

by A. R. Capetta


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781536223019
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 05/03/2022
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

A. R. Capetta, who previously published under the name Amy Rose Capetta, is the author of Echo After Echo and The Heartbreak Bakery and holds a master of fine arts in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. A. R. Capetta lives in a small town in the mountains with their family.

Read an Excerpt

Part One


I’m halfway up a redwood tree, wearing a dress as thin and dark as a shadow, a boy breathing hard to keep up.
   “I think I liked the idea of climbing better when we were on the ground,” he says.
   His name is Sebastian. He’s another transplant to Tempest. Besides that, what I know about him is as flimsy as the name tags they made us wear at new-student orientation. He has sprigs of dark hair. He’s a nervous dancer.
   “Don’t you want to see the sun rise?” I call down.
   It’s the same question I asked a bunch of people I barely knew, when the house party thrown by some popular senior burned out, melted wax and crisped wick. Sebastian was the only one who actually listened to what I was asking. Who said sure. Which, I realize as I haul my stomach over a branch and pull myself to my feet, is not really the same thing as yes.
   “Sure,” he says again. “Remind me why we’re doing this?”
   The easy answer comes out. “We’re Californians now! We can’t just eat more avocados and talk . . . really . . . really . . . slowly . . . and act like we fit in.” I know that I sound like I’m joking, but the truth is I feel every difference between this place and the one where I grew up. The food is better. The Mexican food is infinitely better. People smile at strangers. But there’s a difference that I don’t know how to talk about, something in the air that must have a chemical interaction with my blood. It makes me feel strange, so I want to do a strange thing to match. Like climbing a tree that touches the bottom edge of the sky. “This is a time-honored rite of passage that I just made up.”
   That answer peels back, and I can see the one underneath it. I don’t want to go home yet. Mom won’t stop asking if I hate the rental cottage, hate how temporary it feels, how it smells like burned dust and the brass beds scream when you turn over at night. I actually think the rental cottage is kind of cozy. I just didn’t want to loosen my grip on the night.
   I just needed to breathe in the woods.
   I look between my bare feet and find Sebastian’s face below me, all misery, like I’ve put him in a redwood prison and the only good part is looking up my skirt but he’s pretty sure he has to feel guilty about that.
   “I don’t care, you know,” I say.
   “That we’re both about to die falling from a tree?”
   “That you know what color my underwear is.”
   I think it’s red. I didn’t pay that much attention when I put it on, but it suddenly feels relevant.
   I grab the branch above me, my face pressing into the shaggy bark. It’s softer than I’d imagined, and the limbs of the tree are strong, fanning out in spokes. When I reach a gap, my heart goes glossy with fear. I press off with my feet, and I am touching nothing but air until my hand cuffs the next branch and a scream drops back into my lungs, unused.
   I’m not braver than Sebastian; I just want to get to the top more than he does. There is something waiting for me up there, and I won’t be able to name it until I see it.
   Now that I’ve gotten past the rough, patchy middle, the tight spin of branches near the top makes the rest easy. It’s like climbing a spiral staircase into the dawn.
   “Quick,” I say. “We’re missing it.”
   The treetops give way, leaving a jagged view. The gray sky is just black rubbed thin. A pale, secret shade of pink glows where the sky and the world touch.
   I stop where I am and sit, my back settling against the trunk. Sebastian pulls himself up and stands right in front of me, his thighs barring the sunrise. “Sit down please,” I say, and he does. Now his face is in my way, but before I can complain, the sunrise turns his hair into glory, softening each dark strand with coral and rose.
   “You know what’s weird?” I ask, my eyes catching on a break in the treetops, a pothole between us and the sunrise, right over the town we came from. “Being new feels a little bit like we don’t exist. Like somebody in Tempest has to notice that we’re here before we can really be here.”
   He looks down at his fingernails, which are nervously picking apart a small piece of the tree. “Maybe we can notice each other,” he mumbles.
   That wasn’t really my point. But he looks so hopeful that I can’t tell him the other half of my thought. It’s too unwelcome. Too Danny, and I’m going to be different here. Somebody who eats avocados and talks slowly enough that people listen.
   But not saying it doesn’t stop me from thinking it.
 We could die tonight, and it would be as easy as crumpling a name tag.
   I pull my phone from the pocket in my dress. The screen’s glare cuts against the soft burn of the sunrise.
   “You’re texting?” Sebastian asks, a whine trickling into his voice. It’s not as cute as his nervous dancing, or even his halfhearted tree climbing.
   “My mom likes to know I’m alive,” I say. I don’t owe him the rest of the story, even though it itches on my tongue.
   Sebastian nods and keeps nodding until it’s clear that he’s working himself up to something. “Do you want to hang out? Sometime?”
   I take a quick breath. He’s right — what we’re doing at the moment isn’t hanging out. Nobody climbs to the top of a tree on a date. There are rituals. Rules. Tonight doesn’t have ropes around it, so it’s outside of everything real, a fact that leaves a sour memory-taste in my mouth.
   Lip gloss, cigarettes.
   “Danny?” Sebastian asks, his confidence draining as quickly as the dark. “What do you think?”
   I don’t know how to answer. It has nothing to do with how lovely and kissable Sebastian is. Even after all the girls I’ve been with, I sometimes find myself wanting to kiss a boy, and that makes it harder for a lot of people — I won’t declare myself and stick to one side of a fence. I don’t know how to explain that I don’t even see the fence.
   Sebastian does this nervous look-away, and his long, exposed throat begs for my attention. This is when I should let my fingers drift toward his skin. When I would normally lean into the moment, touch my lips to his. Wind nudges me forward, urging me to do it. Yellow deepens to gold and pours in thick and heavy, and he’s goddamn glowing. The moment is here.
   This is where a kiss would fit.

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