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The Darkest Part of the Forest Hardcover – January 13, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,269 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Fairfold is no ordinary town. Its citizens live in uneasy détente with the surrounding forest's magical Folk. Like most residents, siblings Hazel and Ben fear and desire the magic that hovers just out of reach. The Fae gifted Ben with a supernatural musical ability that he cannot control. Hazel's own bargain with the Folk causes her many sleepless nights. Fairfold's fragile equilibrium tips when Hazel frees imprisoned Prince Severin, setting in motion a war with Severin's father, the Faerie king. Hazel and Ben will have to confront long-buried secrets if they want their town to survive. Once again, Black examines the intersection between self-reliance and guilt. Neither Hazel nor Ben nor Hazel's love interest, Jack, can combat the Faerie attack until they reveal their secret desires, often transformed and augmented by Folk magic. Black deeply embeds these conflicts in her story, but anecdotes and flashbacks pull readers away from present action, curiously slowing the pacing into a dreamlike holding pattern. Action scenes pepper the story, but the author's detailed world-building continually restrains the pace. Lush settings juxtapose the wild, alien nature of Faerie against the normalcy of mortal existence. Familiar tropes like Hazel's romance with changeling Jack and her conflict with the Faerie king will not surprise readers much, although Ben's crush on Prince Severin provides interest. While not Black's best, it is still better than most teen fantasy. Pair with the faster-paced "Modern Faerie Tales" (S. & S.), or, for a satisfying slow build and dense setting, try Robin McKinley's novels.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

Review

A Kids' Indie Next List Book of the Year
An ALSC Notable Book for Children
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
A YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers


"Lush settings juxtapose the wild, alien nature of Faerie against the normalcy of mortal existence."―School Library Journal

*"Black returns here to the dark faery realm that spurred her initial success, and if anything, she's only gotten better, writing with an elegant, economical precision and wringing searing emotional resonance from the simplest of sentences."―The Bulletin, starred review

*"Black returns to the realm of faerie for her latest novel, and the results, as any of her fans would expect, are terrific."―VOYA, starred review

"Black's stark, eerie tone; propulsive pacing; and fulsome world building will certainly delight her legion of fans."―Booklist

"This edgy, dark fantasy will be a hit with young adults who like their magical creatures to live in a recognizably contemporary world."―Library Media Connection

"Like a true fairy tale, Black's story weds blinding romance and dark terrors, but her worthy heroes are up to the challenge of both."―The Horn Book

"It's an enjoyable read with well-developed characters and genuine chills...."―Publishers Weekly

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Product details

  • Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 13, 2015)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0316213071
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316213073
  • Reading age : 12 years and up
  • Lexile measure : 840L
  • Grade level : 7 and up
  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.52 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,269 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
1,269 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2018
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26 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Georgiana89
4.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable read from the master of books about the fae
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2019
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6 people found this helpful
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Zili Robins
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever concept
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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Louise Marley
5.0 out of 5 stars The Darkest Part of the Forest
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 29, 2018
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One person found this helpful
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Tall Girl
2.0 out of 5 stars Not even close to the Cruel Prince series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2019
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Pamela Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully twisted
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2019
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