Parents' Guide to


By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Brilliant tale of girl's enchanted-woods search for friend.

Book Anne Ursu Fantasy 2011
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 9+

This title has:

Educational value
age 10+

A depressing adventure

This book is about a girl and boy who are drifting apart as they get older. Consumed with depression over his mother's mental illness, the boy is taken by the Snow Queen. The girl goes after him, has some frightening adventures, and ultimately rescues him. Sort of. At the end of the book nothing has changed. The boy's mother is still suffering and unable to be an effective parent, and the pair's friendship is as good as over. The main character's loyalty to her friend is admirable, but I would not give this book to any child that wants happy endings.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (14):

Hazel's a sensitive and imaginative girl, and readers will relate to and root for her even when she is filled with doubt about her own self-worth. Ursu delicately weaves classic fairy tale themes into Hazel’s very real world and addresses dark subjects such as depression and isolation without trivializing them in the fantasy setting. The tale is fraught with metaphor that doesn’t have to be understood by children who simply want an exciting adventure story, but it will add an extra dimension for those who want to dig deeper.

Book Details

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