Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu has already received some Newbery buzz for 2012. This novel, inspired from Hans Christian Anderson's Snow Queen, is part fairy tale, part realistic fiction and worthy of the press it is receiving.
Hazel has always been best friends with Jack, her neighbor. Aside from him, she feels lonely and is dealing with her parents divorce and a new school, no longer able to afford the private school she had attended. Jack is now interested in hanging out with other boys his age and is growing away from his desire to play make believe with Hazel.
After getting injured at school one day Jack doesn't return the next day and Hazel wonders and worries what has become of him. When she hears that he has entered the forest near their homes with a strange woman, Hazel decides to go and find him. What she finds is a fantasy world where she encounters different dangers as she searches for her friend.
I loved the Minneapolis setting because of its familiarity to me and Ursu did a great job of drawing me into the story from the first page. While I am not somone who gravitates toward the fantasy genre, I enjoyed Hazel and Jack's story very much. I am also not familiar with the Snow Queen as a fairy tale, but Breadcrumbs has piqued my interest and reading this will be a great springboard to interest my students in this new title.