The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Inside cover blurb:

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. ”

-from publisher



The Hazel Wood is dark, like pitch black. The stories written by Alice’s grandmother are very Brothers Grimm- the original ones where everyone dies in gruesome ways to teach children lessons. But don’t worry they’re included within the narrative, so you’ll get to read all about them.

I had no idea what was going on most of the time. Alice is being chased by what seem to be creepy characters from her grandmother’s stories. That part all made some sort of sense. But it was the why that I didn’t see coming.

The Hazel Wood was unexpected, I will give it that. People die and they stay dead. You don’t often see that in YA books, which tend to lean toward the happy ending.

It’s like if Neil Gaiman wrote Inkheart. That’s the best way I can think of to describe The Hazel Wood. Definite Coraline vibes.

Plus: It will definitely give you the creeps, if you’re into that kind of thing. Maybe just don’t read it before bed.

Minus: I didn’t like some of the plot choices, but that’s part of what made it so unpredictable. The author doesn’t at all take you where you want to go.

If you like this book, try:


Coraline by Neil Gaiman- I meant it when I said Coraline vibes. This easily could have been one of the Hinterlands stories.

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