Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 / 5 stars)
Hazel and Gray are lost in the woods after a romantic rendezvous. After Hazel disobeys her wicked step-father to meet with Gray, they find their way to a mansion hidden by the trees. In a bizarre turn of events, they are led into a drug and prostitution ring, with seemingly no way to escape. But are Hazel and Gray more connected to this terrible place than they thought? Or did they only wind up here by chance?
In a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, Hazel and Gray is a dark modern twist on the classic tale. It won’t work for everyone: the adults themes will cause some people to squirm. But, what it does do is take the darkest elements from the story – kidnapping, gaslighting, and more – and translate them into something we are all too familiar with.
Perhaps the story does hit a little too close to reality. In some ways, the short length makes the dark nature even worse. We see only the worse of Hazel and Gray’s life, and even after they, like Hansel and Gretel, find a way to escape, we are only give a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Could there have been more? Did they end up living their happily ever after? We don’t know.
While it’s definitely a story that made me think and will stick with me. But was it the best retelling? I don’t think so.
Do I regret reading it? No.
It’s just one of these stories that will get lost in the woods.
What’s it about?
Two anxious young lovers lost in the woods. A beckoning mansion in a dark clearing. A short modern-day retelling of Hansel and Gretel by the number one New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin.
It’s bad enough that Hazel and Gray have defied the demands of Hazel’s foul stepfather. The Monster has forbidden their romance. Now they’ve awakened in the forest, phones dead, hours past curfew. But not far away is a grand estate in the middle of nowhere. The door is open. In this short story about choosing your own path, the fury of the Monster that awaits them back home may be nothing compared to what lies ahead.
Hazel and Gray is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take the happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened, and frightened all over again.