The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1)
by Melissa Albert
What is it about:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
What did I think of it:
Let me tell you that I disliked Alice!
She has a false sense of superiority, looking down at people who don't know the same books and authors as she does, who like fan stuff, etc. If the story hadn't been as good and compelling as it was, I'd have DNFed this book because of Alice.
That being said: this is a great story. Even while really disliking Alice I was drawn into the story. Strange things are happening and I wanted to find out why, and I wanted to find out more about the Hinterland and Hazel Wood.
As Alice travels closer to the Hazel Wood things get spookier and stranger. I was totally engrossed and loved the sense of strangeness and otherness that weaves through this story.
Once at Hazel Wood Alice discovers some shocking things that force her to make some difficult decisions. I loved how this story played out. The ending is satisfying and this book works well as a standalone. There will be a sequel it seems though, so I will keep my eye out for it for sure.
Why should you read it:
It's a wonderfully weird YA read.
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