The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1)

The Hazel Wood

New Release 1-30-18

This is a YA novel. The main character Alice is 12 years old. She and her mother Ella move around three times a year to escape what they call bad luck. Her grandmother Althea is a world-renowned author of a collection of fairy tales calls Tales from the Hinterlands. Copies are rare and hard to come by and Alice has never read them. She has also never met her grandmother, but hopes she will reach out.

Suddenly her mom receives a letter that Althea has died, and makes a statement about how they are finally free from the bad luck. Ella marries quickly and attempts to give Alice a normal life. After about a year of supposed normalcy the bad luck returns, and after school one day Alice finds herself in her new home that now smells terrible, is missing all the people that are supposed to be there, and an envelope containing a single paper from Tales of the Hinterlands has been left on her pillow: the title page to the tale “Alice-Three-Times.”

She runs to her newfound friend Finch, who happens to be a fan of the stories, and he helps her search for clues. They decipher that characters from the stories have leaked into their reality and are very dangerous. He agrees to help her to stay safe and to try to find her mom and the Hazel Wood, where her grandmother lived.

This book is an absolutely riveting mystery. In terms of familiar things it seems to combine elements of Stranger Than Fiction with Jumanji-type suspense. During parts where the story gets a little flat the suspense from earlier parts kept me reading because I had to know what was going to happen next. Is she in the book or is the book out to get her? Is she the personification of one of the characters from the books or is she the hero that needs to save the world from them? What lies in wait for her and Finch in the Hazel Wood?

Melissa Albert wraps you around her pen so tightly and subtly that you are trapped in the story before you realize it and you must continue on to the finish. To do otherwise would be to deprive your senses and curiosity of the rich adventure which is laid out, ripe for the taking. Go get you some.