Jack and Hazel are best friends, even though Hazel’s loser status at school suggests that Jack doesn’t stand up for her very often. Hazel’s loyalty to him runs deep; when Jack mysteriously disappears, she runs off into a mythical realm to save him. Hazel is very likeable as a hero, and her isolation in school makes her pitiable. However, Ursu spent so much time explaining all of this that I expected some resolution with Hazel’s classmates and her teacher. Instead, the story ends without addressing either problem. I have to say, the story should have been longer, and I don’t just mean in an entertaining sense. The tension in the story mounted so quickly—and so thoroughly, with one threat after another—that I expected more difficulty once Hazel crossed into Snow Queen Territory. Hazel and the Snow Queen don’t even face off; they have a mild conversation and then peacefully part ways. It was, yes, a surprise but it was also anticlimactic. Some of the characters seemed half-sketched: the huntsman, who seems so important in his first appearance, barely affects Hazel’s journey at all; the girls who fell victim to the dancing shoes; the Little Match-Girl seemed one-dimensional and seemed to exist purely to hinder Hazel’s quest; and the wolves, whose unknown allegiances made them confusing figures in this mythical land. In fact, for all of Hazel’s woeful complaining about how terrible this world is, she shows no interest in trying to make it better. She has the strength to change everything—she is the only one who escapes from the magical adoptive-parents, charges alone to the Snow Queen’s palace, and escapes from the swan-seeking witch. Frankly, I expected more of a hero; when I didn’t get it— and specifically when Hazel actively refused to lend assistance, like when she didn’t try to save the other flower-girls or when she didn’t try to rescue the dancing girl—I felt like it was because the author had to no time to write it. Since Hazel’s difficulties in school were emphasized so much, I expected something to come out of all of that page-space: Tyler and her to team up, the Snow Queen to take over the real world, wolves to appear in the streets, etc. I feel like so much time was spent describing Hazel’s real-world troubles that, when she finally gets to the mythical world, it feels rushed.