cover image The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Holly Black. Little, Brown, $18 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-21307-3

Fairfold is a contemporary American town long beset by fairies. This isn’t a secret—rather it’s a tourist attraction that provides the citizens with a healthy source of income (although the visitors do occasionally get eaten by the more dangerous fairies). Hazel, a local high school student, is in love with the town’s biggest tourist attraction, a fairy prince who has slept for generations in a glass coffin in the forest. In this, she has a friendly rivalry going with her gay brother, Ben, who also loves the sleeping prince. Things have been unbalanced in Fairfold ever since a mortal woman refused to return a changeling—who grew up to be Hazel and Ben’s friend Jack—to the fairies. Now even Fairfold natives are being attacked, and after someone frees the sleeping prince, Hazel rediscovers her secret debt to the fairies. Close in tone to some of Charles de Lint’s work, it’s an enjoyable read with well-developed characters and genuine chills, though perhaps not as original as Black’s earlier supernatural excursions. Ages 12–up Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)