Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Translated publisher: CarlsenPuls
Language: Danish (org: English)
*Note* This was a review copy sent to me by the Danish publisher, CarlsenPuls, so thank you so much to them for sending me this gorgeous and highly anticipated book!
Alright, let’s dive right into this dark fairytale.
Alice Crewe believes that her and her mother are cursed. They travel around the country and bad luck seems to follow them around. Back in the 80’s, Alice’s grandmother, Althea Proserpine, wrote a book about fairytales in a place called ‘the Hinterland’. It got wildly popular, but now it’s practically nowhere to be found. Alice is fascinated by these stories, though her mother never let her read them, so she never has, however much she wanted. Alice has actually never met her grandmother and one day they get a letter saying that Althea is dead. She lived in this big mansion called (can you guess it) ‘The Hazel Wood’. Alice’s mother is suddenly kidnapped and Alice knows that her grandmother’s house is the key to finding her. So she enlists the help of a rich classmate, who happens to love Althea Proserpine’s book, and soon the two teens are off on quite the ride of a lifetime. But what if Alice’s grandmother didn’t make these stories up – what if she wrote about an actual place?
This book was full of twists and turns and I was surprised so many times throughout this story, especially at one specific point where I literally went “WTF just happened?!”.
I liked the setting and the rather eerie tone that was present from beginning to end, giving the book an almost thrilleresque vibe, which is not something I’ve often read in YA fiction. That may just be me unintentionally dodging those kinds of books.
There were some places here and there that got me rather confused and a few where I had a hard time figuring out what the hell was going on – I may have been really tired and up way too late, so my mind was foggy and half asleep when I read it.
And this is mainly the reason why I didn’t give it that last star. That may not be totally fair, but I do have a feeling that if I reread the whole book at a non-sleepy time, I would still end up with the same rating.
Nevertheless – I really did enjoy reading ‘The Hazel Wood’. The writing was good, it flowed really well and it kept me on my toes because I couldn’t figure out everything that was happening.
Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly certain that it is a standalone. I thought the ending was nice and rounded and didn’t leave me frustrated like so many other books have done. But if you’ve heard anything about a sequel, do tell as I would love to know.
Would I recommend this book?
And why should you read it?
Because this is not your typical YA novel. I don’t really think I’ve read anything quite like it, meaning it’s refreshing and exciting and you’ll probably have a hard time predicting what will happen, at least with some of the story. I know I did.