Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release date: September 27, 2011
Source: Around the World Tours
Published format: Hardcover, 313 pages
Series: Stand alone
Purchase: Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Breadcrumbs is basically broken up into two parts, one taking place in our world, and the other taking place in the forest that happens to be enchanted. Initially I loved the second part at first because it was a fantasy world, which is my favorite kind of world. But then I felt like Hazel was getting bogged down by too many obstacles that she had to overcome. I felt like a few well placed ones would have done better and gotten the same point across of persevering even in the face of apparent failure. One of these obstacles almost succeeded in making me forget this was about Hazel and Jack because it felt like it was telling another story entirely.
Hazel herself was interesting at times, and I liked the way she thought every now and then. For the most part though, she felt much older than the age she was supposed to be, around 9 to 11 years old I think. Jack behaved much as a boy that age would, and I liked him more than Hazel, even though we hardly get as much time with him as we do Hazel. The secondary characters are introduced, but in the case of Adelaide and her uncle, quickly forgotten for the most part. I honestly didn’t see much point to having them around, which is sad because I liked them and wanted to see more of them.
The ending wasn’t satisfying at all. The entire book is building up to this one point, and it is anticlimactic. It also left me feeling sad because it finished in such a way that you’re not entirely sure of what will happen in Hazel and Jack’s future.
At times the writing and descriptions are wonderful, but overall Breadcrumbs just didn’t live up to my expectations. This is definitely one I’d suggest borrowing from a friend or the library before making the jump to buying. If any of you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did!