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The Hazel Wood


The Hazel Wood

Alice has spent her life running away. She doesn’t know from what, and her mom definitely isn’t going to tell her. At 17-years-old, she’s experiencing her first spell of stability. Her mom is married --- though not to someone pleasant --- she has a job and there’s a boy who seems to have interest in her life. Not exactly interest in her, but in her relationship to her grandmother, who wrote a book of fairy tales about a magical place called the Hinterland that have seemed to disappear from publication. Alice’s mom wants nothing to do with her grandmother or her fairytales, and when they receive a letter saying she’s dead, they feel a wave of relief --- until Alice’s mom goes missing. Now Alice has a choice to make: either go into the Hazel Wood, her reclusive grandmother’s mysterious estate or let go of her mom forever.

"This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before...truly one of originality. Melissa Albert writes all new, terrifying fairytales that...give 'American Horror Story' a run for its money."

THE HAZEL WOOD has been a long anticipated book for 2018 and I can see why. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before. To start off, this book is truly one of originality. Melissa Albert writes all new, terrifying fairytales that are more likely to be classified as horror stories that give “American Horror Story” a run for its money.

One of the great mysterious surrounding the plot line is that very few people actually know what these stories are about, including Alice. The stories were released to the world in the 1970s, but almost all copies had disappeared since then. However, enough of the stories circulated for a sort of cult to form, theorizing the messages behind the story, who Alice’s grandmother is and if the Hinterland is a real place. Finch, the boy who hangs out with Alice whether she likes it or not, is one of those people.

Character-wise, Finch was really interesting. In general, I found it a little hard to connect with him just because of his level of wealth that became a recurring factor in the book. I also couldn’t find any concrete description of him, which is ironic because THE HAZEL WOOD is filled with descriptions. However, he had this sort of wonderment surrounding him that was childlike. Still, I didn’t like the way Finch’s character was presented as a plot line to the story. I also didn’t like the main character, Alice. She felt like a very stereotypical tough YA character and I really couldn’t find anything unique about her.

Like I said, this book is filled with descriptions and is quite possibly the most descriptive book I’ve ever read. While this was cool at first, it ended up being overwhelming. Every single color, shape, smell and texture needed to be described in full depth, and it took away from the story for me since there wasn’t room for me to imagine anything. I also found the overall plot line and plot speed very confusing. There are about 75 pages of this book that are non-stop action, yet I found myself completely lost for the most of it. The only thing I can say that was really positive about the story was that it was extremely creepy.

Unfortunately, THE HAZEL WOOD just wasn’t a book for me. While I wouldn’t recommend it for people with similar tastes as me, I could see a lot of horror fans enjoying this book.

Reviewed by Reanna Hensley on February 26, 2018

The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert