Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (Review and Giveaway)

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu is a love song to book lovers.  I first heard about it when a few of my Tweeps mentioned it on Twitter.  When I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher, I set my other books aside and sank into my couch with it.  A few hours later, I struggled to leave Ursu’s world behind in order to be a functional member of society again.  It’s that good.  Enchanting, heartfelt, sincere, and magical are the only words I can use to describe  Breadcrumbs.

A modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”, Breadcrumbs is the story of Hazel and Jack.  Best friends their entire lives, they are inseparable.  That is until, something happens and Jack begins to change.  No one else notices anything different about Jack and when Hazel tries to point it out, she is only told that sometimes boys and girls grow apart as they grow up.  Luckily for Jack, Hazel doesn’t see this as a valid reason for his sudden coldness and distance.

Hazel finds herself drawn into a fairy tale world full of magic, witches, enchanted flowers, and spells.  I found myself utterly enchanted by Hazel.  She is a real (non-white!) girl experiencing the growing pains of early adolescence.  She is struggling to understand her parents’ divorce.  She has been forced to transfer to a regular public school rather than the creative arts schools she previously attended.  And she doesn’t fit in with new classmates but she is unwilling to compromise her self in order to fit in.

And the geekiness!  Ursu has created a love song for bookworms with Breadcrumbs.  Hazel is a book lover and she views the world through the lens of the books she has read and loved.  Harry Potter, Madeline L’Engle, Rebecca Stead, The Golden Compass, and many more in between.  I loved the obvious and not-so-obvious mentions of books that shaped my own childhood.  Breadcrumbs is just magical.

Highly, highly recommended.  This is being marketed as a middle grade book but I handed it to some of my sophomores and they are raving about it.  I think this is a book the will leap across the divides of gender and age.  It’s a book that should be in all classroom libraries.  The writing is poetic and brilliant and the story is one that wraps you up in its arms and doesn’t let you go until you reach the last page.  Get this one now!  You will want to own a copy before the Newbery Award is awarded this winter.  😉

Interested in winning a copy of Breadcrumbs?  Walden Pond Press has kindly offered a copy for one reader of the blog!  Simply comment on this post by 10/7 in order to be entered.  Be sure to leave your name and an email address where you can be reached in the event that you win!

28 Responses

  1. I’ve heard a LOT of great things about Breadcrumbs (and the heroine Hazel), and would like to experience the magic, too. 🙂 Hope I get picked! *crosses fingers*

  2. Sarah, you win. Everyone’s been talking about this book and – not that I’ve been ignoring it – your post has made me take action. First, enter the drawing. Next, reserve a library copy. Then come the online bookstores. Finally, if necessary, beg, borrow, and steal. (Apparently it’s that good.)

  3. I’ve heard lots of wonderful things about this book. I was going to pass it by, but I can’t avoid all the wonderful reviews its received.

  4. This sound like a book both my daughter and I would enjoy!

  5. I hadn’t heard of this book until I read this post, but will now get a copy! Sounds great!

  6. Sarah, I think you’re absolutely right that this is a book that transcends character age and has appeal for older students, too. The first person I handed it to at my library was a 16-year-old homeschooler… I haven’t heard back yet but I really think she’s going to LOVE it.

  7. I’m been on a mission to read all the possible Newbery winners, so this will be a must read, according to so many. Thanks for talking about it!

  8. I am so excited about reading your book! It’s been on my Goodreads to-read list since the summer and I’m hoping my library will have a copy soon.

  9. This is the first I’ve heard of this novel, but it is getting added to the TBR pile after this review. Fingers crossed for a win!

  10. I have heard fabulous things about this book. It’s on my wish list that will hopefully be filled by mid-October. So many great books were released in the last few weeks. Thank you so much for offering this giveaway…it would be a treat to win.

  11. Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity! Ever since I started reading Jackson Pearce’s retellings, I’ve been on a craze for more.

    Wishing you well,
    Deserae McGlothen
    desimcg (@) hotmail (.) com

  12. Thanks for the review – this sounds amazing! Am going to add it to my pile of books to review to use in the children’s literature course that I teach. Will also be telling my own pre-teen daughter about it!

  13. I am definitely going to the store today to pick this one up. Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. I had a chance to hear the author read an excerpt, and like you I was hooked. Anne has done a great job of pulling the reader (of any age), in.

  15. Sounds like it would be a good read. Count me in please!

    -Britt T.


  16. I have been waiting for this to release! Winning it would be awesome!

    Great post & giveaway! 🙂



  17. This book sounds magnificent! The character who happens to be a huge reader is a HUGE draw…but I love fairy tales. Plus, any author who loves Anne of Green Gables may be a kindred spirit so I must read the book!

  18. This sounds like my kind of book — and that my students will love. I am a big fan of Anne of Green Gables also.

  19. i’ve read about this book on many blogs. it seems so enchanting!

  20. I keep hearing wonderful things about this book and the geekiness added in is just an extra bonus!
    Jessica – booksake(at)yahoo(dot)com

  21. Sounds like a perfect book to add to my library collection at school! Thanks for the opportunity!

  22. “You will want to own a copy before the Newbery Award is awarded this winter.” That’s a bold statement! Putting the book in my TBR queue now . . .

  23. I happened to stumble across this book on Goodreads. I was just browsing through and BAM! I read the synopsis and it really caught my attention. Can’t wait to read it!

    – Megan Conway

  24. Oh man the more I hear about this book the more I want to read it! So many great reviews.

  25. Sounds like this is right up this bookworm’s alley! I hope I win!

  26. This is a great blog for teachers and book lovers alike – thanks so much! I am a HS English teacher and I would love to read Breadcrumbs!

  27. I can’t wait to read Breadcrumbs. It looks so cute, and everybody has said great things about it!

    ashelynnhetland @ gmail dot com

  28. […] Review and author interview at The Reading Zone […]

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