(excerpt taken from Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu/ Chapter 13/ pg. 155)
Hazel and Jack are pirates, sometimes superheroes or supervillains, but mostly, Hazel and Jack are friends. No, not just friends, best friends. They shape their similar worlds, sparking each others imagination and sharing their secrets. Even though they're sorted out as somewhat of an odd pair, it doesn't matter. Even though Hazel's mom is constantly telling her that she should hang out with more girls, it doesn't matter. Because, Hazel and Jack are friends. School is more bearable, the snotty kids in her class don't annoy her as much, she can handle her problems at home, all because of this simple fact. So, when Jack's attitude towards her changes overnight, she is completely beside herself. A twist of fate sparks a terrifying moment on the playground when she hums an angry snowball at Jack and he screams out in pain. Suddenly, he's being rushed away and Hazel is left in the dark. She watches as her friend is ushered off the playground, holding a shaking hand to his eye. What had just happened? Was she responsible? She needs the answers to these questions, and she needs them now.
After Jack's refusal to see her, then his sudden disappearance, Hazel begins to suspect that something isn't quite right. When a nervous classmate finally tells her what he saw in the woods, Hazel is convinced that Jack is in danger. And in order to save her best friend, she would have to go into the woods, alone. Setting forth on her journey, she opens her eyes and forces herself to see those things we cannot see, to believe those things that can't possibly be true. Through a timeless reflection lies the path to his heart. Putting one foot in front of the other, she makes a start. On a journey, she must go, to find her Jack and melt the snow. Will Hazel be able to find Jack? What happened to him in the woods?
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu has it all! The writing is spectacularly descriptive and perfectly paced. Ursu masterfully twists her tale into a web of fairy tales and fifth grade friendship. I completely connected with Hazel, and read this story from the edge of my seat. Here is a really funny part I just have to share because I burst out laughing: (Hazel created a spectacle of herself in class and was sentenced to a visit with Mr. Lewis, the school guidance counselor, to discuss her anger issues).
"If Jack were here, Hazel would tell him about the chipmunk counselor, and he would draw a cartoon of the chipmunk with big glasses behind a desk and the chipmunk would say, "I'm so sorry Hazel, but you're nuts."
Anne Ursu has crafted a unique story about friends, family, and one unbelievable adventure. I would recommend this book for kids 9-13 years old and anyone who truly enjoys a goodread : )
Has anyone else read Breadcrumbs or anything else by Anne Ursu? ~ F
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