Wednesday Bks. Mar. 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250821522.
Gr 9 Up–Emeline Lark has run as far as she could from the forest of Edgewood to follow her dream of becoming a singer, but the woods still find ways to creep up on her: turning the ale into creek water or causing flowers to bloom under her stool on stage. No one can see what’s happening except her, and Emmie would think she was hallucinating if not for the way she grew up. The superstitions of her hometown are deeply ingrained, even if they seem ridiculous on the streets of Montreal. When Emmie gets a call that her grandfather has gone missing, and may be tithed to the Wood King, she races home to search the one place no one will go: the forest. Characters are the highlight of Ciccarelli’s novel as she explores communities—the kind you’re born into and the ones you build for yourself—by building families, friendships, and romances that will sweep readers away. Between the worldbuilding, an angsty romance, and the high-stakes subplots, readers will easily forgive slight pacing issues as they explore the Wood King’s court to save Emmie’s Pa and the dangers that have poisoned the woods. Ciccarelli’s setting is both whimsical and threatening, and while the book is not strictly speaking a fairy tale, it will appeal to anyone who enjoys them. Most characters are without racial identifiers.
VERDICT This lush fantasy romance is perfect for fans of Brigid Kemmerer’s “Cursebreakers” trilogy or Marissa Meyer’s Gilded. Recommended for most YA collections.

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