Author: Anne Ursu
Pages: 312 (Hardback)
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.
Jack and Hazel are the type of best friends that you always find in books and they know it. It doesn’t take the magic out, Anne Ursu has a way of making an older reader nostalgic for that… what is it, childhood dream of things always remaining as they are. For that quiet belief that magic really does exist. It’s a bittersweet story and I had so much fun reading it. Not particularly action-packed and it might not appeal to a boy audience but it meanders at its own pace, crafting together a beautiful work of allusions that make you smile and pull your heartstrings as you await the inevitable.
And it comes. But not before you learn about the red shoes that make you dance and the couple who once turned a girl into a bird. The woods give you what you want but not always like you expect. They are beautiful and strange but a far cry from home. Hazel is brave and I liked her more than I thought I would in the beginning. And Jack? He broke my heart, he was so kind to Hazel and then when that witch came along…
I knew it would end how it would. Open to possibilities but I did feel like some strings weren’t tied up neatly enough but I can’t complain. I cried. (I can’t help myself when it comes to stories like this one.) It’s a beautiful, tragic story of friendship and I recommend it for you to read this winter. Just grab a cup off hot coco though, Anne Ursu takes you to a world that’s cold and beautiful and asks for nothing but your attention.