Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Dear Bookworms,

In all honestly, I grabbed this one because of the beautiful cover, I’m not gonna lie. (Don’t judge – you know you’ve done it to!)

About the book

Seventeen year old Alice and her mother never stay in one place long. Always on the move, they have never set down roots. Just when they start to get comfortable in any one place, something…odd…will happen and her mother, with a panicked look in her eyes (one Alice is never quite sure why or what it means), the two pick up and take off. This last move seems to Alice to perhaps be “the one”.

Living in NYC, Alices mother has actually met and married a quite well off businessman. Alice attends an uppity high-school with her not so friendly stepsister, and things have seemed pretty, well, normal. That is until the day she comes home from school and her mother has disappeared, kidnapped to be more specific, and it seems as if the kidnappers are characters from her grandmothers book of short stories entitled, The Hazel Wood.

Alice has never met her grandmother, Althea Proserpine, known to the world as the author of the collection of dark fairytales, Tales from the Hinterland. Her mother has forbidden her from all things Hinterland. She has never read the stories, and most certainly has never been allowed to her grandmothers estate known as The Hazel Wood.

With the help of a Hinterland fanatic from her school, Ellory Finch, Alice goes in search of her kidnapped mother, a journey that takes her somewhere beyond her wildest dreams.

My Thoughts

Overall solid read. If dark fairytales are your thing, this is for you. While the beginning felt a little slow and dry, it picked up steam about halfway through and really takes the reader on a wild ride. The Hinterland was so well written and fleshed out, it truly felt like a living, breathing place. One that I am equal parts intrigued to see and terrified to visit.

There were some unexpected deviations from a common troupe that most YA books seem to follow, which was both refreshing and kind of disappointing (I can be a sucker for those predictable relationship plot lines sometimes- sue me). We’ll just say the relationship between Alice and Ellory isn’t a typical YA outcome you’d except in a book like this, but the way their relationship developed and morphed throughout the novel wasn’t a turn off.

A final note

As we all know I love a headstrong female character, Alice is pretty much a bad ass. She is sarcastic and sardonic, (something I can relate to on a primal level- ha!) and brave even when she is scared shitless. Overall a likable and engaging character.

Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up today, you won’t be disappointed!



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Real-life bookworm with a taste for adventure. Coco enjoys reading as much as she enjoys good coffee. Coco is an experienced book reader, and expert book reviewer. If you need a book reviewed, you are in good hands.

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