The Hazel Wood: A Novel by MELISSA ALBERTThe Hazel Wood: A Novel by MELISSA ALBERT

The Hazel Wood: A Novel

byMELISSA ALBERT

Hardcover | January 30, 2018

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about

Welcome to Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood-the fiercely stunning New York Times bestseller everyone is raving about!

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.

Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for McSweeney's, Time Out Chicago, MTV, and more. Melissa is from Illinois and lives in Brooklyn. The Hazel Wood is her first novel.
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Title:The Hazel Wood: A NovelFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 8.54 × 5.89 × 1.25 inShipping dimensions:8.54 × 5.89 × 1.25 inPublished:January 30, 2018Publisher:Flatiron BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250147905

ISBN - 13:9781250147905

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable read Well-written with lovely prose. Excellent book for fans of dark fairy tales. It lagged a bit at around 200 pages in but then picked up again towards the end.
Date published: 2018-09-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting read! I haven't read anything like this book before so it was pretty interesting to read and I think it would make a really cool movie!
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected Better I had high hopes for this book. It sounded very interesting. The idea of the story was neat, but the way the story was told did not flow to my liking.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good **3.5 stars I think the concept of this book was really interesting and unique, and like nothing I have ever read before. However, it just didn't deliver as well as I thought it would. First off, I didn't really like the main character, Alice. She just seemed kind of... meh to me, I guess. I did, however, really like Finch (who was kind of a main character I guess??). I found his character really interesting and likable, but I didn't really like his role in the novel all that much... he was basically just there to help Alice get to the Hazel Wood, and I just wish he would have had a bit more important role. I really, really, like the fairy tales from Alice's grandmothers "Tales From The Hinterland" book, they were so creepy and dark and unique and I almost enjoyed them more than the book itself. There was what I think was supposed to be a plot twist in this book, but for the most part, it was really predictable, in my opinion. I also found some parts of this book to be really confusing. Now, let's talk about the ending. I found it to be really underwhelming, but it was satisfying. I've heard that there is supposed to be a sequel to this book, which I'm not even the slightest bit sure what it would be about, considering this story was wrapped up in a good place and didn't really leave anything unanswered, but if the author does come out with a sequel I will definitely pick it up and hope that I'll enjoy it more than I did this one!
Date published: 2018-08-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Really good book. This book is amazing and this should be a to be read book on everyones list. Though It did have a few bumps the ending was amazing and it was worth it all!
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An alright read Alice and her mother have been on the run for years. On the run from the bad luck that they just cannot seem to escape. When something happens at the Hazel Wood and Alice and her mother catch word of it , the Hinterland comes hunting. Alice makes an alliance with someone that she never thought she would, and together they go to take back what the Hinterland stole from her. The reason for the low rating was the beginning of this book. It was confusing, nothing happened, and it felt like it was trying way too hard to be creepy. The first half of the book read like a contemporary to me, which I did not like at all. I honestly thought it was going to be a 1-star read, until I got to page 120-ish. Around page 120 the first “plot-twist” happened. It surprised me because at that point I had lost my expectations for the book. It was a nice surprise and turned the book completely around for me. It really picked up after this point and lived somewhat up to my original expectations for the book! The fairytale aspect only played a part in the second half or so of the book which was really disappointing because, to me, there was not enough world-building to warrant needing to wait that long to fully introduce the Hinterland. The same thing goes for the creepiness aspect of the book; it took really long to be a part of the story which was unnecessary. To be honest, I found it really hard to connect to the characters, which really sucked. I enjoyed them, but I just couldn’t put myself in their shoes. Finch was definitely my favourite character, but I couldn’t even feel for him. There wasn’t much character development until the end which was too late in my opinion. The foreshadowing was a really big part of the story and I missed all of it. A really enjoyable part of this book was that it was so unpredictable and at the end it all came together. I personally did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, but I think that it has the potential for a lot of others to enjoy it. If you’re like me and you’re struggling to get through the first part of the book, keep reading, the end it worth it! Check out more reviews like this at plentifulpages.wordpress.com
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Thought it was Great! I enjoyed this book a lot. It was eerie and different. A very dark fairy-tale.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poorly paced The book has a very interesting plot, with very much potential. But to me it seemed that most of the book was irrelevant and just page fillers. The end did redeem it though, i will be purchasing the next.
Date published: 2018-07-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay I read this book for my book club and was genuinely excited about it. Unfortunately, it fell a bit flat. I found the tension to be uneven and the ending a letdown. The characters in this book just didn't do it for me. I think I enjoyed the fairy tale stories in the book more than the story itself. They were a really interesting and unique part of the story. OVERALL: 3.5*
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay read A bit disappointed in this book, but it wasn't completely bad. The atmosphere was great, but unfortunately the plot fell short for me.
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Underwhelming The plot and characterizations where both flat and inconsistent. It doesn't set up any of the plot reveals well enough for them to actually be satisfying to the reader, so the whole thing just reads like a bunch of loosely tied events that are happening to the protagonist. The tension is uneven and the ending is a complete let down. Which is a real shame because the first 1/3 of the book is actually really good.
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting It was an interesting, light read however there were times that I felt it was dragging on.
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh. I'm not too sure how I feel about this book. It definitely had a lot of highs and lows, there were points where I was completely engrossed and other times where I just wanted the book to end. I wish there was more about the fairy tale world which I thought was very well written! I guess when I picked up this book I thought it'd be most mystical than it actually was. I think I enjoyed the fairy tale stories in the book more than the story itself. If the book was just filled with the stories written by Althea Proserpine I would've LOVED this book, no doubt about that!
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unexpected fairytale It was good overall but some parts were unexpected and creepy.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very unique I loved this one. If you like fairy tales you will like this. I found it a very unique story. I will have to read it again.
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Conflicted Feelings I found this book pointless, slow, and incredibly boring, and I adore fractured fairytales. However, this book also left a lasting emotional impact, which only comes from good writing.
Date published: 2018-06-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I Expected Something Else I have such conflicted feelings about this one because it sounded exactly up my alley, but then what I expected to happen didn't happen until about two thirds of the way in. It was a good book, but I found myself getting disappointed because I just kept waiting for something to happen that wasn't going to for some time. Funny how the mind forms such impressions. I'm such a big fan of dark, twisted fairy tales, and this was chock full of them. Of little, tiny glances. Sigh. Sadly, those pitch-dark fairy tales are not the driving force in this story. Not in the way you'd expect at least. Two tales are read in full, and then beyond that there are just small peeks at the characters of each tale in the middle of their Story. Each one that was mentioned, I got really excited, then disappointed (THEME HERE) because that was all you got to see. Now I just want a book of all those twisted Stories! The tidbits dished out are really quite horrific and fascinating. Alice wasn't a bad character. She's got quite the bit of snark at times. Sometimes it was a little weak, other times "DAYUM GURL!" The development of her character, looking back at it now, is well done and makes perfect sense. A few other characters shined as well, but I wanted more of them to be honest. Katherine, Finch, Althea: I feel like they weren't given justice for some reason. The writing itself is pretty good. There were quite a few modern-day references that had me laughing out loud. Likewise, there were several descriptions and lines that I really enjoyed. Overall the pace was great, the story tight and consistent in everything except the tone at some parts. I think if I had different expectations, I'd have enjoyed this a lot more than I did. As it were, 2.5/5
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from so close to perfect This book started off SO strong, I devoured the first three quarters of this book and couldn't get enough, but close to the end it really felt like it started to drag. This book was SO close to being amazing and it just missed the mark. I didn't love the characters the way I wanted to, needing more character development (especially with Finch and Ella) it felt as if the author only had 350 pages and around 250 realized she was out of time and space and tried hammering the remainder of the novel out. With all that being said I did adore the fairy tales written by Althea, and I really did enjoy how dark and twisty this novel ended up being. If there is a sequel it will certainly end up on my book shelf, but I don't think I will pull this book out to read again and again.
Date published: 2018-05-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Started off strong 3.5 Started off enthralling but lost momentum or I lost interest. Loved the idea / plot. But started to lose track of characters and stop caring.
Date published: 2018-05-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Plot, but lacked depth 3.5 Stars. I personally really loved the plot of this book. It was super fun, and also a bit thrillery. I would not recommend reading this late at night. This book also contained quite a few twists that caught me off guard. I will mention that I did not personally enjoy the characters. I didn't care about Alice or her mother, Ella. Finch was such a random character who felt so shallow to me. He had no development whatsoever, and I personally don't think he really added much to the story. I really couldn't figure out Alice's stepsister Audrey. She doesn't have a major role in the book, but their relationship was so confusing. I honestly could not tell if they were friends or not. The writing was nothing special either. Lots of people have compared it to Alice in Wonderland, and the whimsical, lyrical style that goes along with it. I did not get any if that. The writing was just not great. It had absolutely no emotion in it, and so it was even harder to connect with the characters and such. It did nothing for me, and only made the book seem more boring. The book takes quite a bit of set up (it takes about 80 pages for the plot to begin) and I was entirely bored at the beginning. I definitely think it could have been a shorter set up. I only kept reading because of the gorgeous cover, and I've heard some good reviews. Plus I was really interested in the fairytale aspect of the book. Later in the book, it becomes rather confusing. There was one point where all these things were happening, but you don't know why, and it's never really explained. It's not that it was something that should've been cut out, it just made me really disconnected with the story. My final critique is that I wish we had seen a bit more of the fairytales. Yes, this is the part that creeped me out the most, but I really wanted to learn more about the other stories from the Hinterland. This is a very plot driven book, which I really enjoyed, but it takes a very long time to get to the point. There was so much wasted time, and it made me super frustrated. Once you get to the good stuff though, it's pretty good ;) Supposedly this is a series, but The Hazel Wood wrapped up in a really satisfying way, so I'm curious to see how a sequel will play out.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but not my favourite The Hazel Wood was a bit underwhelming for me. I loved the first half and raced through it, but the second half was a bit too fast paced for my liking. It was full of weird randomness (that's the only way it can be described), which I was not a fan of (for example, a creepy little girl who appears but doesn't move the plot forward whatsoever). The characters in this book are highly underdeveloped. The main character is not exactly the most likeable - she's downright annoying at times. I gave this book a 3/5 because I did really like the plot during the first half, but the second half definitely lost me. Of course, I only gave it this rating because it wasn't MY favourite, but I've heard a lot of other people say they loved it, so give it a go. Hopefully this review helps someone out there! #plumreview ?
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Breathtaking Writing in a Dark, Atmospheric World Going into this book, I honestly did not know what to expect. I’m so much more of a fantasy fan than horror/ mystery (which I THOUGHT this book was about – it wasn’t.) Yet EVERYBODY I knew was RAVING about this book and I knew it would be one I’d read. Soon. As I sit on the other end, having absolutely DEVOURED this phenomenal debut novel, I AM IN AWE. The hype, my fellow bookworms, IS REAL. Melissa Albert brought to LIFE the words ‘Dark Fairy Tale’ with stunning writing and a world filled with Stories, consequences, revelations, twists and it was a whole new experience, reading The Hazel Wood. Let’s break it down: 1. The Hazel Wood started off in the normal world, slowly introducing us to Alice, the protagonist and her life. We’re introduced to her mother, Ella, Finch, the boy who has everything but is battling his own loneliness and slowly, by the time we’re halfway through, we’re introduced properly to the insanity that is the Hinterland and every kind of Story and Creature that comes with it. 2. The world building and the writing complemented each other SO WELL. It was this dark world, that had all kinds of fairy tale creatures coming out of the woodwork at all times and I LOVED THE ATMOSPHERE OF IT ALL SO MUCH. 3. I absolutely loved Melissa Albert’s characters as well. Alice was headstrong, feminist and honest. Finch had a kind but broken heart and a head filled with fairy tales. I also loved Ella, Alice’s mother, and I love the to the ends of the earth for each other, whatever the consequences relationship they had and I WISH we had seen more of her throughout the book. 4. CAN WE ALSO TALK ABOUT HOW ABSOLUTELY STUNNING BOTH THE U.S AND THE U.K COVERS ARE? It captures the delicious creepiness of this book and I love it so much. This book was NOTHING like I expected it to be – it was so much more. It was flawless, in every sense of the word, dark but in a fairy tale kind of way and the characters were so realistic. I honestly cannot believe I EVER had doubts about this book and I NEED THE SEQUEL. The Hazel Wood was, in all honesty, a perfect combination of dark fairy tales, impressive world building and breath-taking writing in a dark, atmospheric world and I was HOOKED on it.
Date published: 2018-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page Turner Until The End! The Hazel Wood is a book you pick up and think 'this sounds cute' read a few pages and are now unable to put it down. Melissa Albert is an amazing writer, you can truly see her love for fairy tales and magic come alive in the story. I was a little let down by the ending. I felt the book was so strong but fizzed out near the end. BUT than I read there is going to be a book two and it all made sense. I also read there will be a short story compilation in 2020! If you read the book you know how exciting that is!
Date published: 2018-04-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Ehh, yeah, I fall into the “I didn’t love this” camp. The fairy tales were the best part, though too few & far between. Too much random weirdness for me, with very little about any of the characters to connect to or care about.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay This book was a bit of a let down. It had potential but sadly didn't meet my expectations.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Fairy Tales, Okay Book On paper, this sounds exactly like the kind of book I would adore. It had fairy tales, a fairy tale world, and dark stories and everything that's good in the fantasy world. I was super excited to dive into this one, and see what all the hype was about. And all in all, I did enjoy the book. It was quite the ride, and definitely felt the fairy tale thing, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. When it said dark fairy tales, I expected something a little less Alice-in-Wonderland-y than this. It started out really good, but it got a little more... cutesy towards the end? Which was fine, just not what I was expecting.  The Good Points of The Hazel Wood: There are only a couple of them in this book, but holy cow the fairy tales are so good. They're bizarre and kind of creepy and they follow along the routes of the Brothers Grimm and those other messed up fairy tales. I need a whole book of them (I have seen there's one coming on Goodreads so yay!). Though it was a little slow to get going, the pacing once you get going is awesome. This is a super easy book to read simply because you're on a wild ride that you're racing just to keep up with.  I liked Alice's character and enjoyed following her through the story. It was fun to have a good character that's not the meek and mild, or stupidly smart and confident, which is what to we find all too often in fantasy. I liked that she was snarky and angry. Could have been developed a little more, but I thought it worked. The Downsides of The Hazel Wood: I found the relationship between Ellery and Alice to be kind of weird and awkward. And some of this gets explained later on, but most of it just stays weird and awkward. I wasn't big on Ellery's character, and his whole involvement were my least favourite parts of this book. The first part of this book dragged like crazy. It does get going well after a while but it takes a while to get there, and it could have been summed up in far less time. I found the transition to the Hinterland awkward and uncomfortable and I didn't enjoy it as much as when it was set in our world. The Hinterland just seemed a little too Alice-in-Wonderland-y and it didn't match what we had seen already in the book. All in all, this was a fun read, but not my favourites. The fairy tales were absolutely amazing, and I need a whole book of just those. If you enjoy weird fairy tales, vibes similar to that of Caraval or the Night Circus, or angry protagonist, you should definitely check out The Hazel Wood!
Date published: 2018-04-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Plot is great but execution is poor The Hazel Wood is a story about fairy tales. Yet these are not the fairy tales we know. There are no happily ever afters here. Sounds awesome right?! And it is...mostly. Well maybe it's more accurate to say the fairy tales themselves are fantastic. Too bad this is not a book of Hinterland fairy tales and is instead a story of a girl encountering the Hinterlands and some of it's stories are plopped into the middle of her story. The Hinterlands The concept of an alternate 'dimension' that is a fairy tale land is very close to that of the TV show "Once Upon a Time". That didn't bother me in the least as Melissa Albert takes the idea and runs in a different direction. Instead of using fairy tales we all know and love, she created a world called the Hinterlands and made up new stories with no happy endings. I'm sure Disney could reign them in like they did The Little Mermaid but they would loose something. My absolute favourite part of The Hazel Wood is that the fairy tales are so dark and foreboding. The book containing all the Hinterland fairy tales described in The Hazel Wood is one I am desperate to own. Too bad The Hazel Wood isn't this book that is sought after in our main story. Long, for no reason The Hazel Wood is not a long book. At ~368 pages, I'd say it's on par with the average fantasy teen book. I was surprised at one point that I was only halfway through the story as it felt like I had to be near the end; and yet I knew lots more probably happened. For some reason this is the slowest read ever. It just drags on and on. I have a few theories on why this is; I don't think it's any one thing. But what I do know is that I kept waiting for it to suck me in and have me flipping pages quickly. Not once did that ever happen which was a huge disappointment. The Lead Gal We are clearly supposed to feel sympathy at every turn for our leading gal and her sad life story. Except instead of inspiring sympathy in me she was just annoying. Yes, she's had a hard life. Yes, she's up against bad odds. Yes, she's been screwed over at every turn; but none of that makes her automatically endearing. A lot more thought and actual characterization is needed here in order for me to be on board with this girls thoughts and feelings. I felt the entire time like she was the vessel that was taking me on this story but not the reason why I was reading the story. She should have been the reason I cared (especially by the end) and so this changed how I felt about a lot of things that happen. With little empathy to give over to our cardboard cut-out of a lead gal I didn't really care what happened in the end and so it's impact was lost. The Love Interest Carrying on with poor characters, let's talk about the male love interest. Here's what NOT to do in teenage fantasy story; don't introduce the lead guy as simply being unattractive. What does that even mean?! We all have different standards of attractive. So give me some details about him and maybe say something about our lead gal finding him average or boring; but to say unattractive is just insulting (to the fictional character and to the reader frankly). To add insult to injury here the only other describer we get about this boy is that he is black. Um... okay; but that doesn't mean I have a picture in my head of what this guy looks like! It's like Albert thinks saying he's black means I will automatically have an image of what his guy must look like. It concerns me greatly that some minor characters got more description than our main guy. A skin colour is, of course, a descriptive element to a character, but it's far from being enough. And it concerns me that Albert thought skin colour might be enough of a description... It's especially frustrating as this boy is the saving grace of The Hazel Wood! Without him near the beginning I may have given up. He gives the story some optimism and hope. And his way of loving the Hinterlands and being a 'fan boy' is just adorable. I loved every minute he was on the page. Too bad he's in maybe 30% of the book total. More of him might have actually saved us from the dreary main gal killing the pace. It couldn't have saved the book entirely but it would have maybe gotten it to the four star mark. Convenience I must rant about this every second book I read. Or so it seems. Let me be blunt; if your character didn't have to work for it at all then it's probably too easy. Few things in life are easy, one random happenstance I'll accept (as one day my husband found a $100 bill in a parking lot, so it does happen) but having things just show up when needed is obnoxious and lazy writing. I would much prefer our lead gal having to work for the 'items' needed. Also then I might have been able to remember: a) what the items were, b) what their significant might be, c) cared about how they fit into the story. Instead Alberta has some guy leaving them behind for our lead gal. This lacks creativity and left me with no impression of what these items are or could become. It makes their use later in the story feel convenient. In this case convenience begets convenience. Plot Here is one place where Albert does a great job. The actual plot of The Hazel Wood is brilliant. I love everything about what happens in the story overall and if provided with a broad plot summary would have been crazy excited about this book. Even after reading the story, I still think the plot is amazing and really creative. The plot is the primary reason why this is a 3 star review and not a 2. It's hard to have a unique or creative idea in fantasy books these days and here is Albert with a (mostly) original idea. Too bad she butchers the characters, flow and feel of the story. It's a damn tragedy. Overall I wanted to love this book so much. I was so enamoured by the tales of the Hinterlands and their twisted, unexpected outcomes. So here's what would make this book amazing. Let Melissa Albert write the fairy tales (as those that were told in full were quite good) and then give the main story and have someone else write it. In the hands of Bardugo, Sanderson, Meyer, etc. this could be a top-notch world and story. It really is sad that Albert isn't at the level of many other writers in the teen fantasy genre. I'm hopeful however, as this is a debut novel, that she can improve. I'll happily revisit the Hinterlands again in the future with the hope that it's less convenient, characters are fleshed out more and that the writing moves along at a better pace. I don't want to give up on the Hinterlands yet, as I feel there are more dark, creepy stories to enjoy. So I'll hold out hope that Melissa Albert is just too new on the scene to have found the right voice for her brilliant ideas. Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from <3 <3 <3 Alright, so this is officially the best book that I've read in my life!
Date published: 2018-04-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed This is the first book that I've put down before finishing... I wouldn't recommend. I didn't find the main character likeable and I found the story to be rushed. Near the end of the book, it got very confusing and hard to follow as well.
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! Anyone who doesn't love this is crazy. Her best work yet!
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I found the plot underwhelming
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I loved reading this book and the dark fairy tales in it. I can't wait to read the other books that are coming out for this series.
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deliciously engaging! I picked this book up on snowy Saturday morning and was pulled right into the story by the beautiful writing and interesting characters. I read for hours and finished the book on the Sunday afternoon. I haven't done that since I was a teenager! This is marketed as a YA book but adults looking for a fun escape will love it too. (I read a lot of YA for that very reason!) A fantastic reinvention of fairy tale storytelling. Such vivid description and flowing prose. I really enjoyed this book. If you liked The Night Circus, An Unkindness of Magicians, or Mythago Wood (an oldie but goodie), you'll really enjoy The Hazel Wood!
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not for me I finished this book, but it was a struggle. I didn't really enjoy it and was hoping for more. However, if you like fairtales, you might enjoy this book. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disapointed This book had been recommended to me by many people. I found the writing to be forced, the premise to be overdone, and the characters underdeveloped. This was not the book for me.
Date published: 2018-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This isn't your traditional fairy-tale, the plot was original, but the ending was disappointing.
Date published: 2018-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from On the fence Overall the story was good, however, this may be due to the fact that the plot was familiar, yet there really wasn't anything spectacular about this 'new version'.
Date published: 2018-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert **Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy** THE HAZEL WOOD embraces the darker aspects of fairy tales. Alice Proserpine lives in the shadow of her grandmother’s novel Tales of the Hinterland, an adult take on fairy tales that created a cult following. Alice and her mother have spent their lives constantly moving, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad luck that seems to follow them. When her grandmother dies, Alice and her mother think they’re finally able to settle down. When strange things start happening, Alice turns to Ellery Finch, a classmate who knows more about Alice’s grandmother than Alice does. Ellery was someone I expected to dislike or tire of quickly. He smart, rich, and has an obvious infatuation Alice. However, Ellery remained down to earth and completely sweet. He isn’t the ‘sad little rich boy’ trope. He acknowledges his own wealth and faults, just as he tries to get Alice to acknowledge her own privilege when her anger gets the better of her. The book also shies away from romance. I loved that even though both of the characters liked each other, they remained cautious. It’s life or death stakes, there’s not a lot of time for canoodling. The ending of the novel is likely to be controversial; it’s unsatisfying, and answers are purposefully withheld. Alice never learns all the details of what happened and why. However, this was a type of ‘unsatisfying’ that worked perfectly. The whole novel is Alice searching for meaning, for explanations. To deny her this fits with the reality of the situation. Although I loved the novel, I’m a little disappointed to see that it’ll be a series. The book stands on it’s own so strongly, I can’t imagine where else the plot can go. THE HAZEL WOOD is a gorgeous, fast-paced and creepy novel. Read this is you want more Grimm in your life.
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I didn't really like the plot, a lot of it seemed fake and copied from fairytales
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved this book! I love fairytale adaptations, and this one was very twisted and original. The writing was amazing. Alice had a unique and mature voice. I really enjoyed her narrative. Some of the fairytales from Alice’s grandmother’s book were also in the story. They were super creepy. I had to stop reading it one night and switch to a lighter book so I didn’t have nightmares. But the stories were so good! The concept of the fairytales coming to life was so creepy. This story reminded me of the Percy Jackson series in that way. Percy learned his family secrets, which brought him into the world of Greek mythology, just as Alice learns her family history in the world of her grandmother’s fairytales. I really hope a book of Alice’s grandmother’s fairytales is published. It would be awesome to read them all. The physical book was described in the story, so it could be a beautiful book as well. I loved this story! I recommend it for fans of fairytale adaptations. I received a copy of this book on NetGalley.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's OK The reviews below are all accurate, saying that it is kind of a copycat version of Alice in Wonderland.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life Lol. What? Don't get me wrong. I was super engrossed from page one. The Hazel Wood is a unique tale. I was never 100% sure what was happening but that's what made the book weird and spooky and surprising. And sooooo atmospheric. The writing is deliciously beautiful in this dark manner. That so fits with the tone of the book. Alice is kind of an asshole. Sometimes. And angry. And a misfit with a terrible case of bad luck. You going to be hating on Alice some. But her personality is fitting. I don't want to say redemption is in her favour, because it's a weird weird world. The girl just got some stuff to deal with alright. The Hazel Wood is a dark tale for us fairy tale readers out there. It incorporates all the things I love about these unlovable fairy tale lands and characters. These characters guys! This world! You're not even ready. The mystery and mystic surrounding them and what happens when doors open. How about fate and family. Interesting characters at every turn(Finch will surprise you in many ways). The Hazel Wood and Hinterland is this all-engrossing character. Worlds and lands are just as important in these kinds of stories and Albert does not disappoint. Nothing, I mean nothing, is as it seems. Portal fantasy with a fairy tale twist at it's best. I do not envy Alice and her "adventures" through the Hinterland. I picked this up thinking it the perfect fall time spooky read and it is that. I realize January isn't fall, but The Hazel Wood works perfectly then too. A dark tale for a cold and cozy winter night.
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing Fairytale <b>I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review</b> I have been reading a lot of positive reviews and seen a lot of hype around this book, and I thought I'd try it out as well. It had a very interesting concept and I'm usually a fan of dark fairy tale retelling. The story starts off by presenting Althea, a journalist who once wrote a famous book of dark fairy tales, but has now become a recluse and hides away in her estate, the Hazel Wood. Her book has generated a cult fan base, but it's almost impossible to find an actual copy. We then follow the narrative of her grand-daughter Alice, whose mother keeps them moving around a lot because of all the bad luck that follows them. One day, after receiving the news of Althea's death, Alice's mother is taken by someone who claims to be from Hinterland - the mythical place where the fairy tales are set - and the only message she has is to stay away from the Hazel Wood. The concept was dark, creepy and enchanting all at once, but I did not like how it all came together. I enjoyed the writing itself but I thought the jumps in time cut of the flow of the narrative. The book is also very slow in the beginning - we don't get much of anything in terms of actions, character depth, or even proper world building. And then in the second half, when I thought the story would actually get better and things would start happening, it all very metaphorical and a bit predictable. I also had a really hard time liking the book because of the main character. Alice was mean, cold and self-centered - she had a way of looking down on people without any reason simply because of the privileges they were born into, and to read a first person narrative where we have to follow the story from her perspective just made me want to chuck the book away. There aren't all that many secondary characters and none of of them were memorable. <b><i>"There's just this harsh, horrible world touched with beautiful magic, where shitty things happen. And they don't happen for a reason, or in threes, or in a way that looks like justice. They're set in a place that has no rules and doesn't want any."</i></b> The only thing that I actually really liked were the fairy tales. If Althea's book actually existed in real life, I would most likely read it! There was a list of the titles of the tales, and sometimes a brief descriptions of the stories and I wanted to learn more them. I cared more about those than I did for the actual characters and story, which isn't a very positive thing about the novel. Overall, despite having an interesting and dark premise, this books fails to deliver the retelling I was hoping for. It was clearly not for me.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eerie and Magical Modern Fairy Tale If you love fairy tales, then you will absolutely love Melissa Albert's debut YA novel The Hazel Wood. It's uncanny and magical, grim like a classic fairy tale, and completely leaves you spellbound as you're reading. I always seem to remember the happily ever after part of a fairy tale, forgetting just how cruel and dark they can truly be. The Hazel Wood was a reminder that fairy tales can be so bloody, strange, and outright creepy, giving you shudders down your spine. Seventeen-year-old Alice has spent much of her life shuffling between new schools and homes, and driving on endless stretches of highway with her mother, constantly trying to outrun the bad luck that always seems to follow right behind them. There weren't many rules for Alice during her unconventional childhood, but she's always been forbidden to speak about her grandmother, Althea Proserpine, the reclusive author of a collection of fairy tales called Tales from the Hinterland. While Alice has never met her grandmother, it hasn't stopped from secretly trying to learn everything about her... but the details are very sparse. Tales from the Hinterland may have a devoted cult following, but the book itself is an elusive find. And even the location of the Hazel Wood, her grandmother's grand estate, is an alluring mystery. Alice has always imagined what her life would've been like living in the Hazel Wood, and wondered why her mother refuses to speak of the past. But maybe it was for a very good reason... Alice's mother is suddenly stolen away, kidnapped by figures claiming to be from the Hinterland, the cruel world where all her grandmother's stories are set. It sounds crazy and impossible, but Alice would do anything to get her mother back, including reluctantly enlisting the help of her classmate Ellery Finch, an avid fan of Tales from the Hinterland. Alice is used to being a loner, independent and distant to everyone except her mother, but even their relationship has its ups and downs. When you think moody and angry teen, Alice fits right in. I know she's frantically trying to find her mom and the Hinterland creeping into the edges of our world is scary, so sometimes she's mean and rude and lashes out at Ellery, but really, that's just part of her personality. Alice is not always a very likeable heroine, but that was fine with me. She doesn't need to be perfect and always kind. I just felt bad Ellery was stuck in a car with her for hours. The Hazel Wood was a perfect blend of dreamy storytelling, classic fairy tale and contemporary setting. It was enchanting and grim, with magic and eeriness and tension pervading my heart as I read along. I didn't know what to expect, what surprises and twists awaited ahead to stumble upon. I wasn't even sure how much I could trust Alice's narration. This book was just so, so good. I completely understand why so many people have already fallen in love with The Hazel Wood. And the ending left me feeling a little empty and lost, like a part of the Hinterland had stolen a part of my soul too. I'm just glad to know there will be a sequel. ** I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. **
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Predictable premise but some good twists & turns
Date published: 2018-01-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poor Retelling of Alice in Wonderland I have been reading a lot of positive reviews and seen a lot of hype around this book, and I thought I'd try it out as well. It had a very interesting concept and I'm usually a fan of dark fairy tale retelling. The story starts off by presenting Althea, a journalist who once wrote a famous book of dark fairy tales, but has now become a recluse and hides away in her estate, the Hazel Wood. Her book has generated a cult fan base, but it's almost impossible to find an actual copy. We then follow the narrative of her grand-daughter Alice, whose mother keeps them moving around a lot because of all the bad luck that follows them. One day, after receiving the news of Althea's death, Alice's mother is taken by someone who claims to be from Hinterland - the mythical place where the fairy tales are set - and the only message she has is to stay away from the Hazel Wood. The concept was dark, creepy and enchanting all at once, but I did not like how it all came together. I enjoyed the writing itself but I thought the jumps in time cut of the flow of the narrative. The book is also very slow in the beginning - we don't get much of anything in terms of actions, character depth, or even proper world building. And then in the second half, when I thought the story would actually get better and things would start happening, it all very metaphorical and a bit predictable. I also had a really hard time liking the book because of the main character. Alice was mean, cold and self-centered - she had a way of looking down on people without any reason simply because of the privileges they were born into, and to read a first person narrative where we have to follow the story from her perspective just made me want to chuck the book away. There aren't all that many secondary characters and none of of them were memorable. <b><i>"There's just this harsh, horrible world touched with beautiful magic, where shitty things happen. And they don't happen for a reason, or in threes, or in a way that looks like justice. They're set in a place that has no rules and doesn't want any."</i></b> The only thing that I actually really liked were the fairy tales. If Althea's book actually existed in real life, I would most likely read it! There was a list of the titles of the tales, and sometimes a brief descriptions of the stories and I wanted to learn more them. I cared more about those than I did for the actual characters and story, which isn't a very positive thing about the novel. Overall, despite having an interesting and dark premise, this books fails to deliver the retelling I was hoping for. It was clearly not for me. *I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instant Favourite I was lucky enough to receive an early copy - All opinions and thoughts are my own. This novel was lush, fantastical, and amazing in every way possible. It is great for Fans of Ransom Riggs to Sarah J Maas. I thought it was a quick light read full of mystery and overall greatness.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Great book, would recommend
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fairy tale all grown up If you are one of the many who think fairy tales are the stuff of childhood, then get prepared. The Hazel Wood may be built upon fairy tales but they have been amped up and twisted at least a few times. Alice Crewe knows that her grandmother Althea Proserpine wrote a book of fairy tales that has a devoted cult following. She's tried to read them, but the one time she found a copy of the book, it was snatched away from her. For years, Alice and her mother Ella have lived a monadic lifestyle, always trying to elude the bad luck that seems to follow them. When events take a terrifying turn for the worst, Alice knows that she must find the Hazel Wood and attempt to set things right. I was carried away by this story. It had a great mix of real world and magic, that blended so well that it blurred the boundary. Did the Hazel Wood really exist in our world, or was it imagination based. Could you wander into it if you didn't know it was there. At times I found myself yelling aloud warning to Alice and Finch as though they could hear me through the pages. Perhaps they could hear me and my words helped change their stories. Who can really tell. I loved the characters of Alice and of Finch. She is angry inside thought can't pinpoint why. Most of the time she can hold it together, which speaks of her strong will. When she turns to Finch for help and support, she shows her smart side that sense his strength of character and his resourcefulness. This is a wonderful debut novel by author Melissa Albert. I have no doubt that her future tales will have me gripping my book with white knuckles as I hang on her every word.
Date published: 2017-12-09

Editorial Reviews

New York Times bestsellerSeven starred reviewsIndies' Choice Book Award FinalistNew York Times Notable YA Book of 2018Boston Globe Best Book of the YearWall Street Journal Best Children's Book of the Year#1 ABA IndieNext PickABA Indies Introduce SelectionJunior Library Guild SelectionALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults ListSeventeen Best YA Book of the YearThe Guardian Best Children's Book of the YearEntertainment Weekly Top 10 YA Novel of the YearBustle Best YA Book of the YearBookPage Best Book of the YearBank Street Best Children's Book of the YearIndigo Best Book of the YearBooks-a-Million Best Book of the YearGoodreads Choice Award FinalistPublishers Weekly Flying StartSeattle Public Library "10 Young Adult Books We Love 2018"Romantic Times Seal of Excellence Winner"The Hazel Wood starts out strange and gets stranger, in the best way possible. Albert seamlessly combines contemporary realism with fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth, and the world as it appears is false, where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a good book. It's a captivating debut." -The New York Times Book Review"An original and imaginative fairy tale: thrilling, fascinating, and poignant in equal measure. Grade: A-." -Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books"Insidiously beautiful, this is the opposite of escapist fantasy; it is a story about the imagination's power to loose atrocity into the (mostly) law-abiding confines of the real." -The Guardian"A darkly brilliant story of literary obsession, fairy-tale malignancy, and the measures a mother will take to spare her child." -The Wall Street Journal, Best Children's Book of the Year"An eerie, assured first novel. Albert occasionally entwines the haunting tales of the grandmother's book through this mesmerizing narrative, creating a fantasy as lush and twisty as ivy." -The Washington Post"One of those rare young adult fantasy novels that holds a self-contained world in only a few hundred pages. If the novel's heroine is a teenage girl, then her story will appeal to readers of all ages, with its intrigue and strange fairy tale magic and very grown up writing." -Esquire"A can't-miss, dark, and creepy new take on fairy tales that will have you glued to the page until the very end." -BuzzFeed"This extremely creepy, wondrously original and beautifully written book conjures up a dark, bloody netherworld of fairytales and enchants and enthralls from the first sentence to the final page." -The Buffalo News"A contemporary fantasy that dwells in an atmospheric, intertwining world of terrifying circumstances; a breathtaking dive into the magic and importance of story in one's identity. 'Story is the fabric of the Hinterland,' one of the residents tells Alice. Another says, stories 'create the energy that makes this world go. They keep our stars in place.' If this is so, Albert's exquisite wordsmithing and story weaving have kept the stars aloft for a new generation of readers." -Shelf Awareness, starred review"Alice's sharp-edged narration and Althea's terrifying fairy tales, interspersed throughout, build a tantalizing tale of secret histories and magic that carries costs and consequences. There is no happily-ever-after resolution except this: Alice's hard-won right to be in charge of her own story." -Publishers Weekly, starred review"Highly literary, occasionally surreal, and grounded by Alice's clipped, matter-of-fact voice, The Hazel Wood is a dark story that readers will have trouble leaving behind. The buzz for this debut is deafening, and the fact that the film adaption is already in the works doesn't hurt." -ALA Booklist, starred review"Simultaneously wondrous and horrific, dreamlike and bloody, lyrical and creepy, exquisitely haunting and casually, brutally cruel. Not everybody lives, and certainly not 'happily ever after'-but within all the grisly darkness, Alice's fierce integrity and hard-won self-knowledge shine unquenched." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review"An empowering read that will be especially popular with fans of fairy-tale retellings." -School Library Journal, starred review"Fans of the dark supernatural will gobble this up." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review"Albert weaves a spellbinding, dark tale. The smoke-and-mirrors world of the Hazel Wood is deliciously creepy and its denizens are well-drawn." -VOYA, starred review"It's no exaggeration to say that The Hazel Wood is one of the most anticipated books of the year. Fortunately this is one of those cases where the hype is justified. Readers, especially those with a fondness for dark fairy tales, won't want to miss this brilliant combination of realistic fiction and fantasy." -BookPage"The Hazel Wood is a rich tapestry of dangerous delights, and it effortlessly balances charm, malice, beauty, and fear. The diverse characters, gritty twists and turns, vivid imagery, and captivating premise make this the perfect choice for fans of Lev Grossman, Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe. Chilling, atmospheric, as fresh as it is dark: the must-read of the season!" -Romantic Times, RT Seal of Excellence"The Hazel Wood is thoroughly, creepily captivating, with surprises I never saw coming! Such a refreshing and beautifully written inversion of the classic fairy tale-inspired story." -Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling"This book will be your next literary obsession. Welcome to the Hazel Wood, where bad luck is a living thing, princesses are doomed, and every page contains a wondrously terrible adventure-it's not safe inside these pages, but once you enter, you may never want to leave. The Hazel Wood is pure imagination candy." -Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval"Dark, spellbinding, and magical. One of the most original books I've read in years-The Hazel Wood is destined to be a classic." -Kami Garcia, author of Beautiful Creatures "Reader, I warn you: this book beckoned me in with delicate claws then sank its teeth into my heart. I fear a part of me will never escape The Hazel Wood." -Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere "Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood is an elegant dark fairy tale, full of the power of story. It's creepy and gorgeous, and I loved every word." -Kat Howard, author of An Unkindness of Magicians"Elegant, ethereal, and beautifully brutal, The Hazel Wood is a fairy tale worth falling for. This is a dream of a book I cannot recommend highly enough. It's like falling into a nautilus shell: every time you think you've found the end, another chamber opens. Absolutely breathtaking." -Seanan McGuire, author of Every Heart a Doorway"Absolutely mesmerizing, magical, and inventive. Hats off to Melissa Albert!" -Karen McManus, author of One of Us Is Lying"Dark, haunting, and absolutely mesmerizing: The Hazel Wood grabbed me with its mysterious, upside-down fairy tales, full of thorns and sharp twists. In no time at all, I became obsessed with this book, willing to follow it anywhere-even deep into the Hinterland." -Jodi Meadows, coauthor of My Lady Jane "The Hazel Wood kept me up all night. I had every light burning and the covers pulled tight around me as I fell completely into the dark and beautiful world within its pages. Terrifying, magical, and surprisingly funny, it's one of the very best books I've read in years." -Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places "A winding, creepy, insidiously delicious novel. Utterly spectacular. I read it in one sitting!" -Melinda Salisbury, author of The Sin-Eater's Daughter"Full of dark, twisty corners and eerie beauty, The Hazel Wood is like nothing else I've read before." -Evelyn Skye, author of The Crown's Game