Review: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn’t help it – Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn’t fit anywhere else.
And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it’s never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack’s heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it’s up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she’s read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn’t the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

 

My thoughts:

Breadcrumbs is a charming and enchanting new novel by Anne Ursu. Billed as Middle Grade fiction, the lyrical writing and interesting mix of fantasy and reality will appeal to Young Adult and Adult readers alike.

Breadcrumbs is an emotional journey that follows Hazel as she navigates a dangerously magical forest on her quest to reach the Snow Queen’s lair and rescue her best friend Jack. One of the many things I enjoyed about Breadcrumbs is that it evoked such nostalgic memories of my own childhood. There is an almost natural separation that happens in boy/girl friendships at a certain age and Ursu highlights this with such poignancy that it is beautiful to read.

Hazel shone as the main character and her courage, loyalty, and fortitude were inspiring. I loved her whimsical nature, her willingness to trust her intuition as she faced some terrifying challenges and persevered through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The way her character evolved throughout the story was wonderful. The quest that Hazel undertook was as much about self discovery as it was about the strength of friendship and Hazel learned something valuable with each step of the journey.

Within the story, there were nods to many other popular children’s tales such as Harry Potter and Narnia and of course, the Snow Queen which inspired this novel. These mentions made sense in the context of the story and I don’t feel that they were overused at all.

This was an emotional and whimsical modern fairy tale with overtones of melancholy and nostalgia. This is one of those reads that stays with you long after turning the last page, a modern day classic. I would recommend this to readers of all ages and would go so far as to say that you will be missing out if you don’t have a copy of this on your shelf. . 

Rating – 4

StarStarStarStar

Blogger Labels: Read in 2011,2011 Release,Anne Ursu,Middle Grade,Review,Breadcrumbs,fiction,fantasy,Young Adult,self discovery,friendship,children,Narnia,fairy tale,nostalgia

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