The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood

A Novel

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
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When the scary, magical world in her grandmother's book of dark feminist fairy tales becomes real, seventeen-year-old Alice, partnered with Ellery, an obsessed fan of the fairy tales, must enter the world to rescue Alice's kidnapped mother.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250147905
1250147905
Branch Call Number: YA FIC Alber
Characteristics: 359 pages

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t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
May 12, 2018

What if you were told, that your life is actually entwined with that of fairy tales? Having faced too much bad luck for it to be "bad luck," Alice (protagonist) comes to shocking realizations one day after school. On a mission one can only call "spun by fate," she is determined to change her destiny. This book was very captivating overall, and I liked how it didn't try to appeal to a huge audience. It had its quirks and darkness, and unless readers enjoy it fully, it is not worth continuing. Fair warning, it does not shy away from blood/gore. -@Siri of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

k
KatG1983
Apr 25, 2018

It's an interesting premise and a decent read... but I wasn't especially compelled or moved by any of it.

Cynthia_N Apr 13, 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed this one but now I'm sad because I want to read Tales from the Hinterland and I can't! Another one the I just read will be made into a movie! Definitely worth the time!!

j
jamesmaiden
Mar 28, 2018

Though there were pieces of this novel that felt...extra, the story itself does an amazing job of telling the tale of those of us in the LGBT+ community that tried to find reconciliation between who we are and what our religion wanted from us. I remember going to church camp and the feeling of disgust with myself that I was a gay man, which was taught to me by the "caring" counselors was against the God that I wanted to love me. I would completely recommend this book. It read really easily and reflected a lot of the emotions and struggles I faced as a teenager.

k
kkaur2
Mar 23, 2018

Interesting novel! Twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale as it takes a dark turn. The story is a bit slow in the beginning but moves along quickly. Good read. Dark humor, dark tales, interesting concept. Would recommend.

SamanthaE_KCMO Mar 02, 2018

The Hazel Woods follows the story of Alice, daughter of the sharp and resilient Ella, granddaughter of the mysterious Althea Proserpine. Althea is the writer of a book of macabre fairy tales called “Tales from the Hinterland” with an underground cult-following. Ella won’t allow Alice to meet her infamous grandmother and the two move from place to place, trying to outrun the bad luck that always seems to be right behind them.

One day news comes that Althea has died and Ella feels they can finally settle down. Ella maries a rich New Yorker and Alice’s life stabilizes as she goes to a fancy private school with her spoiled step sister.

Then everything goes wrong. Ella is kidnapped by supposed characters of the tales in Althea’s books. She and a fellow schoolmate, Ellery Finch, must try to find a way to rescue her mother from the Hinterland characters. To do this, she will need to get to the Hazel Woods, her grandmother’s shrouded, unknown estate. Dark twists and a fast-paced plot bring Alice and the reader closer and closer to the dangerous fantasy world of the Hinterland.

Alice has a genuine 17 year old voice, but many parts of her character development felt rushed. However, the story makes up for a rocky beginning with a satisfying and exciting end. The Hazel Woods has a deliciously dark atmosphere, mostly because of the ominous foreshadowing in the stories in Althea’s book. The chapters in which Ellery Finch recounts the various stories from “Tales from the Hinterland” were my favorite parts. The tales are dark ruthless, and beautifully crafted; drawing on the origins of traditional Grimm fairy tales. (I would almost prefer a book of just the fairy tales themselves.) A fantasy lover must!

OPL_KrisC Feb 28, 2018

This is a dark twist on the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland and I feel that the dark and ominous cover does a good job of clueing us in.

PimaLib_ChristineR Feb 23, 2018

Hmmm, the third book I've read this month where the family keeps moving. Zeitgeist, I guess. (The other two are Dream a Little Dream and Twist of Faith if you're interested). While the marketing for this book describes it like a fairy tale, I wouldn't categorize it that way. Alice and her mother have moved...a lot. Couch surfing, motel rooms, pool houses, apartments, it doesn't matter, because sooner or later, and usually sooner, something bad happens and they have to move on. Things burn down, get flooded out, torn up. Alice's mother, Ella, says they keep moving to stay ahead of the bad luck that always finds them, until she marries a wealthy New Yorker, Althea dies, and Ella suddenly believes they've left bad luck behind.

Alice has never lived this close to her recluse grandmother, Althea, who lived in a mansion in the Hazel Wood. The woman who doesn't help them get by, and the woman that Ella has avoided all of her adult life. Althea is the author of a set of stories called Tales of the Hinterland. Her reclusive nature have led fans to extreme lengths to find her, seemingly without success. When Ella goes missing, her only note to Alice is to stay out of the Hazel Wood. Which you know is exactly the opposite of what Ella is going to do.

The world that Alice enters is much closer to the dark stories of the Brothers Grimm than Lewis Carroll. The boy doesn't get the girl (or vice versa), and some people get killed along the way. Altogether a unique and dark story that's well worth the read.

t
twhitehead24
Feb 11, 2018

An updated version of "Alice in Wonderland" where Alice gets sucked into the Hinterland with Finch by her side. Alice grew up with her mother running from something. Alice's mother, Ella, would not talk about what happened and why they ran. When Ella disappears one day, Alice sets out to find her with the help of Finch. After being sucked into fantasy land through a wooded portal, destiny prevails as Alice sets out to finish her story and find her mother. There are many twists and turns in the story and the ending is almost like "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy wakes up.

samcmar Jan 06, 2018

This. book. I read it and I was just completely absorbed into the world and this story. There is something about the way Melissa Albert crafts everything in this story that just feels spot on. Her characters are frustrating, difficult, but also full of determination and gusto. I really loved Alice's character given she can be very unlikable at times, but I see why. When your grandmother has written a famous novel with psycho fans, I'd be that way too.

There is a huge sense of foreboding reading this novel. Learning about the Hinterlands and the Hazel Wood, you get an eerie sense that the world isn't what it seems. There's almost this "Into the Woods" vibe where characters will end up exploring the landscape, but the setting has it's own personality. I loved the descriptions of the environments and how they felt creepy, yet very much alive.

I also just want to share how captivating the writing is as well. I found myself reading and hanging onto every word because I needed to know what was happening to the characters. Can I also say how much I loved Ellery, fanboy extraordinaire? I think what I loved about his character specifically, is I feel like everyone has a friend or knows someone who loves something SO MUCH. Ellery was just such a fun character, a great foil for Alice on many occasions.

The Hazel Wood is a very atmospheric read that has strong world building and characters who have the ability to grow. They are imperfect, sometimes uncomfortable, but feel very real as well. I love stories within story narratives and this book just hit all the right notes with me at the right time upon reading it. It's definitely worth checking out if you love dark fairy tales or fantasy, and it's definitely a good book for cold winter nights when you need a hot cup of tea and candle light.

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OPL_KrisC Mar 31, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

k
kkaur2
Mar 23, 2018

kkaur2 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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