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The Hazel Wood : a novel
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When the scary, magical world in her grandmother's book of dark feminist fairy tales becomes real, seventeen-year-old Alice, partnered with Ellery, an obsessed fan of the fairy tales, must enter the world to rescue Alice's kidnapped mother. - (Baker & Taylor)

Having spent most of her life on the run from uncanny bad luck, 17-year-old Alice ventures into a mysterious supernatural world to save her mother, who has been stolen away by a figure claiming to be a character from Alice's late grandmother's cult-classic book of dark fairy tales. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

Welcome to Melissa Albert's The Hazel Woodthe fiercely stunning New York Times bestseller with seven starred reviews everyone is raving about!

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.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of She has written for McSweeney’s, Time Out Chicago, MTV, and more. Melissa is from Illinois and lives in Brooklyn. The Hazel Wood is her first novel. - (McMillan Palgrave)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Some fairy tales ask to be lived in. They involve enchanted forests and handsome princes, talking animals, kind maidens, and wishes come true. Others are darker. Others have teeth. The Hinterland is one such savage place, not that Alice would know—she hasn't read Tales from the Hinterland, the book penned by a grandmother she's never met. They aren't children's stories, her mother, Ella, says, and besides, the book itself is infamously elusive. Alice, quick to anger with a heart of ice, has spent her 17 years in constant motion; trailed by bad luck, she and Ella move from place to place, never staying anywhere long enough to put down roots. But when Ella is taken suddenly, the lines between the real world and the Hinterland start to blur. Faced with the loss of the only person she's ever loved, Alice must rely on Ellery Finch, the kind of Tales from the Hinterland superfan she's always avoided, to help her track down the world she thought existed only in her grandmother's imagination. In this unsettling debut, Albert takes familiar stories and carefully pulls them apart; the end result is a sort of deconstructed fairy tale that, despite its familiarity, gets under the skin. Highly literary, occasionally surreal, and grounded by Alice's clipped, matter-of-fact voice, it's a dark story that readers will have trouble leaving behind.HIGH-DEMAND: The buzz for this debut is deafening, and the fact that the film adaption is already in the works doesn't hurt. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

After seventeen-year-old Alice's mother is abducted, she realizes their perpetual bad luck comes from the nasty fairy-tale world of her grandmother's cult-classic collection, Tales from the Hinterland. With help from classmate Ellery, Alice travels to creepy Hazel Wood, her grandmother's remote estate. Shifting from urbane realism to a kaleidescopic, metafictional dream world of fairy-tale tropes and nightmare, the narrative always displays a distinctive voice and ebullient love of language. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother Ella have bounced from place to place, bad luck always rushing them on to somewhere new. Now it seems they're safe for a while, set up in Manhattan with a wealthy new husband for Ella. Then Ella is abducted, and Alice finally realizes where their perpetual bad luck has come from: the nasty fairy-tale world of her grandmother's cult-classic collection, Tales from the Hinterland. With the help of friend (and Hinterland fan) Ellery, Alice travels to the place her mother told her never to go—her grandmother's remote estate, the creepy Hazel Wood. As Alice fights to take control of her own story, this lengthy fantasy shifts from urbane realism to kaleidescopic dream world, a metafictional confection of fairy-tale tropes and nightmare. Can fairy-tale characters have lives independent of their stories? Is the world of stories a real place? Is fantasy reportage or invention? Albert plays with these questions in her fraught plot and hyper-focused imagery, and even more so through the plethora of cultural references woven throughout Alice's narrative: The Blind Assassin, Akata Witch, Howl's Moving Castle, David Bowie, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Violet Beauregarde, Ron Weasley. Sometimes buoyed, sometimes burdened by its abundant similes and metaphors, the novel always displays a strong, distinctive voice and ebullient love of language. deirdre f. baker Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Alice Proserpine's mother Ella was raised on fairy tales amid the cultlike fandom surrounding the release of Tales from the Hinterland, a collection of grim fairy tales that, in the 1980s, briefly made Alice's grandmother Althea Proserpine a celebrity. Instead of fairy tales, Alice has highways as she and her mother constantly move around hoping to outrun their eerie bad luck—something that seems much more likely when they learn that Althea has died alone on her estate known as The Hazel Wood. Everything isn't as it seems, and soon after, Alice's mother is kidnapped, leaving nothing except a warning for Alice to stay away from The Hazel Wood. The teen reluctantly enlists her classmate and not-so-secret Hinterland fan Ellery Finch, who may or may not have ulterior motives for helping, to share his expertise on the fairy tales. The path to the Hazel Wood leads Alice straight into the story of her family's mysterious past. Albert's standalone fantasy debut has a narration in the vein of a world-weary noir detective who happens to be a teenage girl. Resourceful, whip-smart, and incredibly impulsive, Alice also struggles with her barely contained rage as circumstances spiral out of her control. Her singular personality largely excuses the lack of context for much of her knowledge and cultural references that hearken more to a jaded adult than a modern teen. The lilting structure and deliberate tone bring to mind fairy tales both new and retold while also hinting at the teeth this story will bear in the form of murder, mayhem, and violence both in the Hinterland tales and in Alice's reality. VERDICT An aggressive lack of romance and characters transcending their plots make this story an empowering read that will be especially popular with fans of fairy-tale retellings.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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