Book Review: VOYAGE OF THE LOST AND FOUND by Aisha Bushby (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in white on a blurred blue and purple image

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book of duology


Book cover for VOYAGE OF THE LOST AND FOUND: title in white on purple clouds above a girl in a boar on green seas

The Sahar Peninsula lies just beyond the horizon, but it isn’t the easiest place to get to. No maps will take you there, nor can it be charted by gazing up at the stars, or down at a compass…

Twelve year old Amira has only ever known a life at sea with her sea-witch mothers. So when their ship is wrecked in a great storm, Amira is delighted to have an opportunity to explore land – accompanied by her best friend Namur – a jinn in cat form. Amira soon finds a boy who has a jinn like her, and learns that their spirit companions are connected to the mysterious storm that gets stronger each day.

When Namur goes missing Amira discovers she has to visit a magical place; a place where lost things can be found. But will Amira also discover her own destiny, and find out what it truly means to be a Moonchild?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


The blurb says that it is inspired by the tales of The Arabian Nights, and that tradition of telling stories within stories, that link and weave together, sometimes in very subtle ways, is very much present in this book. It’s a world of magic on the edge of another, of jinni and adventures and mysterious islands.

The book mostly tells Amira’s story, but there are other stories – told by her or others – scattered in between the chapters. Sometimes they start or end in a chapter, so the stories bleed out of their separation and into the “main” story. It really does help to link it altogether, taking that liminal space between the “present” and the stories they tell in the world.

There are also a few sections where the narrator stops telling the story and breaks the fourth wall, directly addressing the reader. It’s slightly meta at times, discussing how stories work, or how the world functions within ours. It’s engaging, but what I appreciated what that slightly meta elements – the analysis and acknowledgement that it is a story being told.

This also fits into that oral story telling tradition The Arabian Nights descends from. The fourth wall break underpins pretty much every oral tradition (as far as I can tell from what I’ve been exposed to over the years.) It’s a powerful technique to pull in their readers by addressing them directly and it can be used effectively in other media (this technique, for example, is very powerfully used in Shakespeare’s Henry V.)

Beyond that, it’s a cute little adventure about a girl with all this anger seeking a missing friend and making new ones – and about the danger of suppressing emotions. I completely appreciate the irony of reading this in the middle of a burnout phase, which does mess with my emotions (MG often helps, hence I’m reading it now.) Joking aside, it’s a serious message that I think we could all do with taking note of!

There’s one other book in this series, though it’s more of a companion about a secondary character from what I can tell.

Read my reviews of other books by Aisha Bushby:

Moonchild (this series):

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