Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Page Count: 355
Alice and her mother have been moving around most of her life. Running away from the bad luck that seems to follow them everywhere they go. Alice’s grandmother is the author of the classic, dark fairy-tales book, Tales from the Hinterland and when she dies in her estate, The Hazel Wood, Alice’s luck seems to get worse. Her mother is taken by someone claiming to be from the Hinterland and Alice must go to The Hazel Wood for the first time to find her mother and into the Hinterland.
I wanted to love this book. The premise of a dark fairy tale surrounded by mystery is very intriguing but it wasn’t that at all. Or maybe it was and I just didn’t like it. Because this book was just awful. I picked up this book a few months ago and put it down after 50 pages because I did not like it but some friends told me that it gets better. Yeah… okay! First off, the writing was not great. I kept getting bored and side-tracked by my thoughts that had nothing to do with the story. The story is so slow to build up, we don’t even see the Hinterland until 75% through the book. And by the time we do get there, I really don’t care what happens to Alice or her mother Ella. And I didn’t like any of the characters. Not one! The story takes place in modern day New York. Alice has a job at a coffee shop and she lives with Ella, her mom, Harold, her’s mom’s husband, and Audrey, Harold’s daughter. Harold is really rich and Alice goes to a private school with Audrey. Alice doesn’t really have any friends. Maybe because she’s always moving or maybe because she has anger issues and isn’t friendly at all. She goes to school with a boy named Finch who is a fan of Alice’s grandmother and he ends up going with her to help save her mom. Alice is so rude to Finch all the time even though he is helping her. By the end of the book, when we learn what exactly the bad luck is that has been following Alice her whole life, I had no expression for it. The execution of the story was just terrible and not that interesting. I was kind of expecting some surprise ending twist and that did not deliver.
When I rated this 1-star, I thought, “wow, I rarely give books a 1-star rating”. In fact, I have given 4 books a 1-star rating and this one makes 5. It also makes it the worst book I have ever read. I just couldn’t get into the story or find any of the characters enjoyable. I’ve heard people saying that this is an Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland retelling, and though I haven’t read that one yet, I really hope that this is nothing like Alice.