ARC Review: The Hazel Wood // Melissa Albert

34275232The Hazel Wood
Melissa Alberts
Release: January 30th, 2018
Page Count: 368

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.

This book was delicious. This book was magical. This book was unlike anything I have ever read before. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was haunting and creepy and gave me goosebumps in a way I had never experienced from a book before. I did not go into this novel expecting to experience fear. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was a gripping and suspenseful novel that makes you question what lies behind the pages of a book.

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  • The pictures! I loved the little pictures at the beginning of every chapter. Every single one was clearly well thought out to fit the chapter and left an air of mystery before delving into the next chapter.
  • The characters + lack of romance. Our main character, Alice Crewe (or Prosperine) has anger management problems and can to put it be simply, be unlikable. It is very clear that Alice is not like other girls, and while this is cliche, the writer writes it in such a way so it doesn’t sound cliche. Our other main character, Ellery Finch is a super fan, and together he and Alice make quite the pair. However, going back to Alice’s “not like other girls” personality, such a personality is often paired with a boy who likes said girl because “she isn’t like the rest”. This is simply not the case in this novel and I really loved this aspect in it.
  • We are all human. (Right?) I really liked how all the characters had their flaws, had their own unique personalities. They weren’t cookie cutter characters set to fit into a predetermined role.
  • THERE ARE PARENTS. Okay, well there is one parent. Ella Proserpine is Alice’s mother and the drive of the story. Usually parents are nonexistent in YA and it was nice to see such a strong powerful mother-daughter bond.
  • The writing was fab. OKAY IT WAS FABULOUS. Albert’s writes a novel that comes right off the page. I have never once in my reader career have come across a book that genuinely affected how well I sleep. That’s how good The Hazel Wood was.

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  • I felt the beginning was kind of slow. It was interesting. While the beginning wasn’t bad for any reason, I felt like it was kind of everywhere and not quite interesting enough for me to immediately curious about what happened next. The Hazel Wood is not a book that takes off by the end of the first chapter, it takes a little bit to get into the story
  • The end of the novel was a bit confusing. While the ending was definitely bittersweet, something I LOVED about this book, the climax of the story was confusing about what exactly was happening. Like the beginning, the end felt as if it was jumping from moment to moment without much of a clear transition. Had the author clarified a little bit about the world itself earlier on in the buildup before the climax I think the end would have been a lot more spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, the end blew my mind, but it would have like exploded my mind if there weren’t moments I was confused.

Overall, I am in love with The Hazel Wood. This book was delightful. It was an absolute wonder to be able to read such a creepy and delicious novel. Step out of the way City of Bones, because this new urban fantasy will be the new book that will be and should be at the top of your TBR.

4.5/5 STARS

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