The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (5 out of 5)

This has to be one of the best young adult books I have read this year. It’s also not out until January of 2018, so don’t go hunting for it until then. But…put it on your young adult to be read list THIS INSTANT!! . I loved that cover right away. I read the back of the book and thought maybe I would enjoy it. I fucking loved it! I’m not someone who usually enjoys young adult or fiction that has any affiliation with fairy tales or horror. A book that messes with both? Sure, why not?! Best move I made all week! Thank you to the author AND the folks at Flatiron Books who both sent me a copy. 

Alice and her mom Ella have always spent their lives on the move. Her grandmother, reclusive author of one impossiple-to-find cult book, passes away on the family estate, The Hazel Wood. Ella has settled into a comfy home life with Alice, but once news of Althea’s death gets out, the shit hits the fan. And so does everything else! Ella had recently remarried, and Alice comes home to find her mom missing, her stepfather holding a gun on her and demanding she leave, and her step dad’s daughter giving her all sorts of strange tales. Alice goes to her friend Finch, a boy she is somewhat enamored with, but with whom she had concerns, due to his obsession with her grandmother’s book. Together, they elude dark and shadowy figures and find out that a creature from “The Hinterland” has her mom. What the hell? Indeed! Because The Hinterland is straight out of that cult book that Finch and others are freaking obsessed with. How can an imaginary realm of the fantastical sort cross paths with a real, living Ella? Alice (I should mention she gets her name from one of the short stories in the book. The tale is Alice-Three-Times) must find out. Mysterious deaths, strange disappearances and halting life events, as well as Ella vanishing into thin air, all combine to make her and Finch get to the bottom of things. Something goes down, and Finch disappears from the landscape. Can Alice handle all of the unpredictable, strangeness that is the Hinterland? She gets to the Hazel Wood, but does she make it out with Ella? With Finch? Alive? Or is this some strange, hauucinigenic trip? What was Althea’s deal all those years ago, that Ella had to flee with Alice as a baby? All I can say is….what a strange trip it’s been! This is the edge of gothic fairy tales, tailored for the young adult crowd. With a great, defiant young adult lead in Alice, and a troubled but enigmatic young adult lead in Finch. They carry this tale(s) with scary aplomb. What else did I love? That cover is flipping gorgeous! And it fits what’s inside SO WELL. I loved every creepy, crawling surprise in this book. I loved the clash of the two worlds, and the possibility that the one could coexist in the shadows with the other. I loved Melissa Albert’s worlds and the characters in them. Alice had some of the best lines of young adult literature that I have read this year. It would be a miscarriage of writing goddesses if this doesn’t get the accolades and awards this “book pusher” deserves, upon its release. I implore you to put it on your TBR for January, usually the bleakest of months in the Midwest. It would be the perfect deterrent for those winter doldrums, as well as a companion to those wintry nights. The forest never looked so enchanting. 

~ by generationgbooks on October 6, 2017.

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