Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have been haunted by bad luck as long as Alice can remember. Not run-of-the-mill bad luck, either, but strange things happening in even stranger circumstances. And Alice’s mom won’t allow her to speak of her grandmother, a reclusive author who lives on a mysterious estate called the Hazel Wood. It’s the two of them against the world.
When Alice’s grandmother dies, Alice’s mom is stolen away by mysterious creatures from the Hinterland—where Alice’s grandmother’s creepy tales are set. The only lead Alice has is her mom’s message, “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
But Alice will stop at nothing to save her mom. The only person she can turn to is Finch, a Hinterland superfan…and Alice is sure he’s hiding something. To save her mom, first they must find the Hazel Wood. Then Alice must venture deep into the woods, where she just might find out what’s wrong with her own story.
The Hazel Wood is absolutely magic! Dark magic, to be sure, but magic all the same. Alice is such a fascinating character, filled with rage but yearning for the light. The Hinterland and the Hazel Wood are places of magic…terrifying magic. I was enthralled with the story from the very first page, and that continued through to the very last page. Loved this book!
Madison Nakama is living her dream life: online high school—so she doesn’t have to deal with people and she can help take care of her sister, who’s on the spectrum—and her pop culture re-watch site has a massive following, giving her both income and human interaction. Maybe Madi’s real life isn’t so stellar—family angst and a mother who’s never present—but her online life is great. Especially when she meets Laurent, a cute French exchange student and fan.
As Madi steps out of her self-imposed bubble to explore this new life, someone else is watching. Someone who doesn’t want her to be happy. Madi’s site is attacked by a vicious troll, and soon the attacks spill over into real life. Can Madi figure out who’s behind it before her entire life crumbles to pieces?
Internet Famous is a quick read with likeable characters. Madi is relatable—even to readers older than the fandom crowd of the book—and she struggles with real problems: a mother more concerned about her own career than her family, a sister that’s a little bit different and who needs her a lot, and dealing with criticism, harassment, and bullying. The story is engaging and draws the reader in, rooting for Madi to figure things out before her world implodes. (Word of warning for anyone out of their teens: Madi does re-watches of “old” shows, like Star Wars, Buffy, and Pretty in Pink, so you might feel a teensy bit like grabbing your cane and waving it at the youngsters in the book.)