The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The cover! This is a gorgeous book and has one of the prettiest set of endpapers I've ever seen. I'm trying to find a way to display it face out because it deserves better than to be hidden on a shelf.
The Hazel Wood lived up to all the hype. A book of mysterious and dark fairytales that creates and destroys a family fortunes and causes a decades long family rift will also lead Alice Crewes on a deadly adventure to discover who she truly is.
Alice Crewes and her mother Ella spend close to two decades moving from one friend's guest room to the next. Crisscrossing the country and leaving behind a wake of bad luck, Alice and her mother never return to the Hazle Wood, her Grandmother's mythical mansion bought at the peak of her career. After disappearing for an unknown period of time during the 1960's, Alice's grandmother Althea publishes a collection of dark fairy tales that becomes a successful best seller. The book creates a cult following, especially after it was turned in to a film. However, in the present day, there are very few copies of the book and Alice has never read the book herself and her mother does all she can to keep it that way.
When Alice and her mother receive a letter about Althea's death, they both believe that their lives will change for the better. Ella marries the wealthy Harold in order to provide Alice with a comfortable life. Along with her snotty new stepsister, Alice is now living in a luxurious apartment and attending an expensive private school. But Alice is still on the outside and is wary of all friendships and questions why another student, Ellery Finch, would try to be friends.
After returning home from school, Alice finds the apartment empty and smelling suspicious. Having no one else to turn to, she goes to Ellery for help. After returning to the apartment with Ellery, she is confronted by her gun wielding stepfather and a very irritated step sister-but no mother. Convinced her mother has been kidnapped, Alice sets out to save her.
Alice and Ellery find themselves facing the Hinterland-a mythical gang of fairytale characters who want Alice. Alice is now faced with an enemy that she knows nothing about but that her family is intricately tied to.
Throughout her adventure, A lice has to rely on Ellery for his knowledge of the fairytales and his seemingly bottomless wallet. There are a few points where you have to suspend belief to allow the teenagers to do what they do, but it’s also a book about evil fairy tales coming to life. So. You know.
Alice and Ellery have a very interesting relationship. It’s very hard to determine if one is using the other-and this changes directions over and over again. Of all the random books, Ellery is obsessed with Tales from the Hinterland. That reminded me of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. A favorite childhood book that leads to a world that isn’t quite what they hoped it would be.
Overall, I loved this book. It is fast paced and full of complex characters and feels very much like it could be the start of a series.