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Okay, so I have a confession. Most of the books I read are in the young adult section of the bookstore. I know, I know you are all thinking.... "WHAAAAT!?"
I kid, I kid.
But seriously, I usually do not pick up an adult book unless it happens to catch my eye or I get a recommendation from someone I know. SO, when I was looking over the BBF list of books to review, I was expecting to find a couple of young adult, maybe new adult books. But THIS book just kept jumping out at me. Literally.
The book... jumping. Lots of jumping.
Can I just say... THIS. BOOK. WAS. AWESOME! Seriously, the story gets going right away. Hazel is finishing a run with her best friend and goes into her apartment to order dinner (pizza, like a boss). Then she is attacked by a giant man/not a man who whisks her away to another realm. All while calling her the wrong name.
So, when you get kidnapped to another realm only to find out you are a human sacrifice, what do you do? Well Hazel runs away. Then she meets this awesome cat who can catch on fire and has the personality of a human. So basically, the coolest cat ever. With the help of the fire-inducing cat, she escapes her captors. Soon she is gallivanting through this other realm trying to make it home. With the help of Arden, AKA mysterious hot guy, she makes it back to the portal that she came through and gets back home.
You read that right. She.gets.back.home. Because Lara, brilliant Lara, does not do the typical girl goes into another realm and then the story revolves on there until she finally gets home and the end. Nope, she weaves the story between here and there. Which was something I really loved. Oddly enough, her going back and forth helped build the world and allowed for lots of surprises in the plot.
So Hazel ends up finding out she is adopted and has two siblings, because her lovely father is immortal and to stay that way must sacrifice his children. Yep, parent of the year right there. She also finds out that the giant man/not man was calling her the name of her four year old sister, Meara (ahh, that's where the title comes in!)
So, Meara disappears and Hazel, along with her brother and best friend, have to track her down before she is murdered by their father. Of course, Arden plays a huge part in the story as the guardian of the forest/realm they are in AND as someone Hazel fancies. The romance in the book is sweet, but certainly not the focus. This was SO refreshing! I know I'm the girl who says she hates too much romance in her books that aren't labeled romance, but I always get invested anyways. But I was really glad at the choices Lara made for her characters.
Ultimately, this was about a girl learning to grow up and take chances on life. Even though she was 26, I could recommend this to teenagers with no difficulty or hesitation. The characters were real, honest, and raw. Hazel had some deep flaws, and it made her more human. The writing was great, the plot was paced well, and I didn't want to put it down once I started it. The story and characters were well developed and I definitely want more.
I am so, so glad I picked this book. I cannot wait to see what happens next! My only real critique is that I need a map! The best part of a fantasy novel is the world that is created. So, having a map is something I NEED!
Overall: Four out of Five stars