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by Anne Ursu

Published by Walden Pond Press / HarperCollins, 2011
312 pages
ISBN: trade 978𢠢62015051

Ages 9-12

A novel inspired in part by The Snow Queen inhabits two wintry worlds: one realistic, the other enchanted. Being brown-skinned and adopted wouldn抰 be such a problem for Hazel if it didn抰 underscore the bigger way she抯 different: her personality and interests aren抰 in synch with most other kids. The bright spot since she had to change schools following her dad抯 departure has been her continuing friendship with Jack, who manages to be loyal to Hazel梩he two share a vivid imagination and love of adventure梬hile maintaining other friendships. Still, a potential new friendship for Hazel leaves her feeling guilty about Jack, whose life is shadowed by his seriously depressed mother. But Jack抯 dismissive behavior after Hazel hits him with a snowball is so extraordinary that Hazel is sure there抯 something seriously wrong. And she抯 right: a small piece of glass embedded in the snowball cut Jack抯 eye. It came from the Snow Queen抯 mirror and it抯 turning Jack抯 heart to ice. He becomes an easy target when the Snow Queen lures him away, and Hazel enters the woods where Jack was last seen, crossing a veil into a dark, fairy-tale world to find him. Hazel encounters archetypal characters from the world of folklore as she seeks out the Snow Queen抯 lair, but whom can she trust? There are surprises at every turn in Anne Ursu抯 deft, immensely satisfying blend of contemporary realistic fiction and fantasy that affirms the powerful bond of friendship.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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