"Once Upon a Time"
Bookworm's Ranking - 3 Worms
Author - Anne Ursu
Publisher - Waldon Pond Press; an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Age Group - 13 and up
Content - *May Contain Spoilers* A creepy woman cuts Hazel's cheek. Hazel throws a pencil case at someone. Parental figures have no idea what is going on. Hazel makes sacrifices to help others even when it might hurt her. She loves her mom and wants to please her. She stands by her best friend even when he has turned his back on her. Hazel doesn't give up even when the journey becomes difficult.
Personal Opinion - Breadcrumbs retells the fairy tale The Snow Queen while mixing real life with fantasy and the struggles of growing up. Being let into Hazel's life, her family struggles, the loss of a friend, and being expected to grow up, was done perfectly and beautifully to reveal the change that overcomes someone when it seems they are leaving a part of themselves behind. Mixing the fairy tale elements to mirror this struggle, made it that much more insightful. The determination of standing by her friend when he was in trouble and facing the difficult journey is a positive one for others to learn to keep going and learn and discover what they should do even when things go wrong. While Hazel wasn't perfect, she tried to do the right thing and do what she thought was she should, even if it meant stop being herself. One thing that was interesting was, in the real world, she turned to fantasy to thrive; but, in the enchanted world, she turned to the real world to strengthen herself.
The ending was a bit confusing. I couldn't tell if she found a boundary between being her imaginative self and living in reality or if one won out over the other. Besides that, there were a few things I personally felt uncomfortable with. Some of the people Hazel meets on her journey are just creepy and she wasn't always respectful of authority figures but it is hard to be respectful when someone wants you to fit into a mold. While this novel is mostly based off The Snow Queen fairy tale, a couple other Hans Christian Anderson tales where also mixed in. This was interesting but almost had too much happening, especially when so much already happens in the main fairy tale. The last thing that made me uncomfortable, and this is purely personal, was the reference to The Golden Compass only because I have an issue with that book.
All and all, this story beautifully wove reality and fantasy together to reveal the struggles of growing up and being yourself as well as helping your friends and making sacrifices.
Buy - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Publisher,
Awards - Publishers Weekly Best Book
School Library Journal Best Book
Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
NPR Backseat Book Club Selection
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