Hazel and her brother, Ben, used to fight real monsters near their hometown of Fairfold. Strange happenings in Fairfold are the status quo. Fairfold is a small town that bridges the gap between the fantastical world of the Folk and the normal mortal world. Teens in Fairfold have grown up for generations partying in the forest with a glass coffin that holds a horned boy. The Folk enjoy playing tricks on the mortals – a tourist disappearing once or twice a summer is the norm, but the humans that were born in and live in Fairfold are supposed to be safe. Uneasy peace exists between the two worlds, until the glass coffin holding the horned boy in the woods is broken. The escape of the horned boy puts the tenuous peace in jeopardy. Hazel must go deep into the forest to find the beast in order to save her friends, family, and whole town.
Award winning co-author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, Holly Black’s new book The Darkest Part of the Forest doesn’t disappoint. The interesting setting and characters will keep readers glued to the book. The plot is often fast-paced, but does contain a few lulls allowing the strength of the continuing character development to pull the reader through. Copious current pop culture allusions help the book to feel recent and relatable to engage the teen and beyond reader. The Darkest Part of the Forest is shelved as a YA book and does have a teen narrator, but those factors shouldn’t deter you from grabbing this great read. Trust me, the story is worth it. (Plus, YA books are great, no matter your age!) I read this book a few months ago and haven’t been able to stop recommending to friends as one of my top picks.
Strong themes of identity and belonging continually come into play throughout the book causing the characters and readers to ask important questions about themselves. Black’s writing and development of the monsters also allows for meaningful lessons to come to light throughout the whole of the book. The combination of fantastical creatures and pop culture references make The Darkest Part of the Forest an ideal choice for fantasy and contemporary readers alike.