"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."
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Flatiron BooksWith thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy to review.
This is a riveting, enchanting tale with elements that feel like a traditional fairytale, where there isn't always a happy ending.
Alice is a spiky, independent character with anger issues and a bond with her mother that means she doesn't need anyone else, which is good when they have spent all her life running and hiding.
When her mother goes missing, her friendship with Ellery Finch grows, but his obsession with her grandmother's fairytales means she always keeps him a little at arms length.
The story is mysterious and chilling at times, and it is hard to know what is real and what isn't for the reader as well as Alice. The descriptions are magical and eerie, and the setting almost becomes a character itself. I also really enjoyed the snippets from her grandmother's fairytales.
I was completely enthralled by Alice's story. This is a world to get lost in, if you dare. 4 out of 5 from me.
Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for Time Out Chicago, SparkLife, MTV and McSweeney's.