Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Breadcrumbs turned out to be a very different kind of story than I expected. This lovely middle grade novel is truly a mix of contemporary and fantasy genres.
Hazel is an adopted girl of Asian decent, struggling to find her place in a new elementary school after her parent's divorce upsets her life. Ursu shows us Hazel in such wonderful, warm clarity that I came to feel I knew her quite quickly. Hazel's only friend is Jack, her neighbor and mirror to her heart. After a quarrel at school, Jack suddenly abandons Hazel, and soon abandons his life--but Hazel is the only person who seems to realize he has disappeared. We follow Hazel's fantastical journey to find Jack, and in some ways find herself.
At first, Ursu's quick descent into a fantastical element was jarring, after coming to know Hazel and Jack so closely in the real world. While there were some hints of a magical twist early on, I was surprised by the story as it unfolded. Still, I read furiously, as I had to know what would happen with Hazel and Jack in the end, and Ursu keeps you guessing until the last page.
Breadcrumbs was a gorgeous read. Never have I seen snow and cold and ice personified so clearly. Ursu captures what the cold really feels like in our bones, and in our hearts. She also captures young hearts and their swirling emotions, as individually unique and unpredictable as snowflakes.
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You can read other wonderful reviews from Marvelous Middle Grade Monday bloggers on Shannon Messenger's blog (and check out her awesome new books!). And now, it's time to draw the the winner of last week's GIVEAWAY! *drumroll*
Congratulations, JESS! You are the winner of a copy of Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins! Yay! I'll share the announcement on twitter as well--please get in touch here or there, and we will send it on its way. My boys had so much fun doing this giveaway, I really look forward to having another in the future. Thanks to everyone who visits me!