Rebecca’s Pick: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Alice has never met her maternal grandmother, famed author Althea Proserpine, though she’s dreamed of it often. Althea’s life, what little Alice knows of it, is as fairytale-esque as her stories and filled with a mysterious wonder that Alice longs to know more of – much to the dismay of Alice’s mother, Ella, who insists that Althea should be forgotten.
Ella & Alice have spent much of Alice’s life on the run from bad luck. Their nomadic lifestyle hasn’t been easy, but it appears to be normalizing when Ella marries Harold and she and Alice move in with him and his daughter in New York.
At school Alice reluctantly becomes friends with a rich hipster kid, Ellery, who also happens to be a Althea Proserpine super-fan. When Ella is kidnapped, Ellery helps Alice look for her and the two of them discover more about Althea’s fantasy world – the Hinterwood – then they ever could have imagined.
This one had a “Once Upon a Time” feel to it, mixed with “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Althea’s stories, only a few of which the reader gets to hear, were dark, creepy and without happy endings – a theme that is carried throughout this book. Each chapter of the Hazel Wood kept my attention, and I’ve already picked up the sequel; I need to know more!