Wonderful fairy tale where a young girl goes off in search of her missing best friend. She must travel through the woods of fairy tale fame and safely maneuver through it's paths full of trickery. Hazel's best friend Jack has been taken by the Winter Witch to a place far deep in the woods. He has given himself freely to the witch. In return, she has frozen his heart, taking away all the pain he feels in life. Hazel, upon finding him, must try to convince him to return home with her.
The story is lyrically told. I'm sure it would be a wonderful read-aloud. Hazel comes across many people in the woods. This part was hard for me because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be making the right choices about who to trust, who to listen to, who to escape. She seems to manage these puzzles well enough, but they always made me a bit anxious.
This is a story about a girl who struggles with where she belongs. Where does she fit in? In deciding to go after Jack, Hazel learns about her strengths and her ability to fight for what is important and right. Maybe "happily ever after" doesn't exist but "happy enough" may.