The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert tells the story of protagonist Alice, and her mother Ella. They have recently received the news of Alice’s grandmother passing within her grand estate called “The Hazel Wood”. Her grandmother Althea was a famous author who was known for her graphic and surprising Hinterland fairy tales, that had gruesome endings and interesting characters. Compared to a modern fairytale that usually had a happy and peaceful ending, her stories ended with the so-called “truth” and what the real world was actually like. When Ella, Alice’s mother, gets abducted from her home, it is up to Alice to save her mother while simultaneously learn the truth about her grandmother’s fairytales, and if they are actually real. What I love most about this book is how it incorporates elements of the fairy tale universe into Alice’s normal and mundane life. These are the few elements that people are only able to see vividly in their imagination meanwhile this is Alice’s reality. My favorite character is Alice’s grandmother, even though she died because she wrote many stories that happened to incorporate elements of what makes a story so interesting. This book shows young readers that they can have a huge impact on their own lives if they take the chance to. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a magical, mystical book that keeps you wondering. Also, this book encapsulates the perfect atmosphere for a fantasy novel that is blanketed in the real world. The major themes of this book are discovering your past, saving your future, and of the self-love, identity, love, and family in between.
Submitted by P. Z.