This is book number 1 in the The Hazel Wood series.
The Hazel Wood is totally captivating. This modern day fairy tale is smart, funny, and clever. Alice Proserpine is a heroine I'd like to buy a cup of coffee. Highly recommend and would be an ideal vacation read.— Rachel Watkins
Melissa Albert’s debut novel, THE HAZEL WOOD, is entirely captivating, filled to the brim with chilling fairytales come to life, mysterious disappearances, strange creatures…
Alice Proserpine lives in the dark shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. Her grandmother, Althea Proserpine, was a talented writer of dark fairy tales who gained a cult following before her work, TALES FROM THE HINTERLAND, fell on hard times. One mysterious accident after another has now wiped nearly every trace of her book, and its movie adaptation, off the face of the earth. The stories live on through their fans, though, and, after her mother is kidnapped, Alice quickly discovers that the tales might be more alive than one would hope. In a quest to rescue her mother, Alice tumbles into a darker, more bizarre Wonderland than Carroll himself could have dreamed up: The Hinterland.
An extraordinary master of the craft of writing, Albert’s prose is sharp and lyrical, and her dark imagination knows no bounds. Some of the most mesmerizing pages of the novel are those in which she pays bone-chilling tribute to the classic fairy tale by including a few of Proserpine’s tales in their entirety. As an extra treat for the nerds among us, the novel gives an appreciative nod not just to fairytales, but to a vast array of books, as it leaves a breadcrumb trail of literary references from Vonnegut to Okorafor to Oyeyemi. THE HAZEL WOOD is an intelligent, original, feminist fairy tale unlike any other, with an ending to match. Steeped in both the shining promise and alienating garbage smell of New York City, this book is a Polaroid snapped unawares, and discovered between the pages of a deadly book. It is a crow slamming itself bloody against a window in order to deliver a letter. It is sharp thorns and demented woods, waiting to draw you in and never let you go.— Elizabeth Willis
“If you like your fairy tales dark and spooky, you will love The Hazel Wood. It is brilliantly twisty, with a not-always-likable main character named Alice whose whole life has been one bit of bad luck followed by another. Now her mother is missing, and the disappearance may have something to do with Alice’s estranged grandmother, the author of a collection of creepy short stories with a cult following. Joined by her classmate Ellery Finch, a boy with questionable motives, Alice sets off for her grandmother’s estate, the Hazel Wood, to confront her and to find her mom. But the Hazel Wood has other plans for Alice, and only by facing her destiny can she rewrite her own fate.”
— Jenny Chou, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Welcome to Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood—the fiercely stunning New York Times bestseller 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.
Don’t miss the New York Times bestselling sequel to The Hazel Wood, The Night Country, out now, or Tales from the Hinterland, coming January 12, 2021!
New York Times bestseller
Seven starred reviews
#1 Indie Next Pick
Junior Library Guild Selection
ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults List
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
“Albert seamlessly combines contemporary realism with fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth, and the world as it appears is false, where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a good book. It’s a captivating debut.” —The New York Times Book Review (Notable Children’s Book)
“An original and imaginative fairy tale: thrilling, fascinating, and poignant in equal measure.” —Entertainment Weekly (Best YA Book of the Year)
“Insidiously beautiful, this is the opposite of escapist fantasy; it is a story about the imagination’s power to loose atrocity into the (mostly) law-abiding confines of the real.” —The Guardian (Best Children’s Book of the Year)
“A darkly brilliant story of literary obsession, fairy-tale malignancy, and the measures a mother will take to spare her child.” —The Wall Street Journal (Best Children’s Book of the Year)
“A contemporary fantasy that dwells in an atmospheric, intertwining world of terrifying circumstances; a breathtaking dive into the magic and importance of story in one’s identity. ‘Story is the fabric of the Hinterland,’ one of the residents tells Alice. Another says, stories ‘create the energy that makes this world go. They keep our stars in place.’ If this is so, Albert’s exquisite wordsmithing and story weaving have kept the stars aloft for a new generation of readers.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review
“Alice’s sharp-edged narration and Althea’s terrifying fairy tales, interspersed throughout, build a tantalizing tale of secret histories and magic that carries costs and consequences. There is no happily-ever-after resolution except this: Alice’s hard-won right to be in charge of her own story.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
”Highly literary, occasionally surreal, and grounded by Alice’s clipped, matter-of-fact voice, The Hazel Wood is a dark story that readers will have trouble leaving behind.” —Booklist, starred review
“Simultaneously wondrous and horrific, dreamlike and bloody, lyrical and creepy, exquisitely haunting and casually, brutally cruel. Not everybody lives, and certainly not ‘happily ever after’—but within all the grisly darkness, Alice's fierce integrity and hard-won self-knowledge shine unquenched.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The Hazel Wood is thoroughly, creepily captivating, with surprises I never saw coming! Such a refreshing and beautifully written inversion of the classic fairy tale-inspired story.” —Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling
“This book will be your next literary obsession. Welcome to the Hazel Wood, where bad luck is a living thing, princesses are doomed, and every page contains a wondrously terrible adventure—it’s not safe inside these pages, but once you enter, you may never want to leave. The Hazel Wood is pure imagination candy.” —Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval
“Dark, spellbinding, and magical. One of the most original books I've read in years—The Hazel Wood is destined to be a classic.” —Kami Garcia, author of Beautiful Creatures
“Elegant, ethereal, and beautifully brutal, The Hazel Wood is a fairy tale worth falling for. This is a dream of a book I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s like falling into a nautilus shell: every time you think you've found the end, another chamber opens. Absolutely breathtaking.” —Seanan McGuire, author of Every Heart a Doorway
“Absolutely mesmerizing, magical, and inventive. Hats off to Melissa Albert!” —Karen McManus, author of One of Us Is Lying