Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)” as Want to Read:
Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1)

by
3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  11,292 ratings  ·  1,869 reviews
The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger—nothing less than an American Narnia—from Colin Meloy, lead singer of the highly celebrated band the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, the acclaimed illustrator of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Wildwood is the first in a planned trilogy.
Paperback, 541 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Balzer + Bray
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wildwood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Wildwood

Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtA Monster Calls by Patrick NessWonderstruck by Brian SelznickDivergent by Veronica RothInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Newbery 2012
23rd out of 167 books — 674 voters
Snow Falling on Cedars by David GutersonSometimes a Great Notion by Ken KeseyThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieThe Brothers K by David James DuncanHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Pacific Northwest Books
22nd out of 473 books — 284 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Carmine
Nov 30, 2011 Carmine rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th up that like a loooooooooong read
2 for the writing + 4 for the illustrations which are amazing = 3 over all. I nearly abandoned after the Portland hipster preciousness of the first chapter. Seriously, apparently we needed to establish that 12 year old Prue rides a single speed bike and cruises the new used bins at the record store- very important for aesthetic. Also, it is probably a good thing the crows took the baby because eventually she was going to do some damage hauling him around in a flippin' red wagon tied to her bike...more
nicole
Jul 14, 2011 nicole rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
BOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIIINGGGGGGGG.

It's a 541-page middle grade fiction fantasy that bored me to tears (except for one story about Prue's parents that was the only part I found interesting and I'd much rather have read about that for 541 pages). Meloy and Ellis call this work a love letter to the woods of Portland, Oregon, and a true collboration between their work. And that's admirable and beautiful, but I tried to quit this book a hundred times, until I realized I had already read so many pages tha...more
samm
I first picked up this book because, I cannot lie, I love the Decemberists. After cracking open the first couple pages I was swept into the seedlings of a great adventure. The world created by Meloy is so close to our own yet so far apart. It takes place in the "Impassable Wilderness" of Portland. And by the end of the book I was thinking if I went to Portland I too would be able to find this magic forest existing today just beyond my imagination.
It has everything I love: adventure! birds! anim...more
Katie Bruce
I finally finished this book!!! I think it took me 2.5 months to get through this galley? That's usually not a good sign if it's taking me that long to finish something. To be fair, this book is a chunker--541 pages, to be precise. The concept was actually really fun, in the beginning. A sort of Narnia-meets-Portland kind of thing, but I got bogged down in the language and style really quickly. I mean, it's GREAT to have some complex vocab in a middle grade novel, for sure, but there were defini...more
Daven
What an enjoyable read this was.

I confess to entering into this novel with conflicting feelings. I attended a young adult literature conference back in October. As we were getting settled in to listen to the keynote speaker (no less than Mike Lupica, not to drop names or anything . . . ), I caught glimpse of a confusingly familiar face moving across the periphery of the large, crowded room: Isn't that Colin Maloy of The Decemberists? I thought. Yeah, right, and he'd be at a young adult liter...more
Lily
Mar 10, 2012 Lily rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not a damn soul
Recommended to Lily by: book club
:(

I know an emoticon is not a review, but ...

There is nothing right about this book.

For one, it is ridiculously boring. The pacing is awful--by the end of the first half (so 300 pages in), it felt like absolutely nothing of import had happened. The characters are bland and unlovable, which is key when you're writing a timeless (read: totally stereotypical) fairy tale.

The plot often doesn't make sense. Now, I'm not saying that everything has to be explained--I don't care that some animals talk, a...more
The Chuck
This is a delight of a young-adult book.

After reading a number of reviews here and on amazon, I can only add to the discussion that the largest complaints seem to be that the vocabulary is troubling and perhaps not age appropriate. To that I say, "Buy a dictionary, suck it up, and read better books." All the praise that has already been doled out sums it up: it's a great tale that's just different enough from everything else in the genre of kids' fantasy to be really engaging and delightful.
Dasha
Really excellent. A proper review to come.


So, proper review - my main, shameful, criteria, for liking anything goes something like this: if I wish to have written, created, taken photograph, worn that item of clothing or thought of that - if I am a little bit jealous of not having come up with the idea - if I want to be the writer and the main character - that's what I love.
Wildwood made me feel both wistful for being twelve and reading it and pretending to be Prue and going on my own adventures...more
Natalie
Halfway through this book, I got that sinking feeling.

That, oh no, this is a series, feeling.

I was going to want more, and more, and more, and after every book, I'd have to wait for the next one.

Happily, this first Wildwood novel ties up quite neatly and stands on its own. I'm not going to have to wonder what on earth happens next for the next few years, the desire for a new Wildwood novel warring with my desire for a new Decemberists album. Poor Colin... if he is one of my favorite singers AND...more
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Ages 7 to 10, mainly as a read-aloud book for parents. The content is far beneath that, in maturity, of a true middle grade book, but the sheer heft of this volume will likely intimidate younger readers away from reading it themselves.

One Word Summary: Tedious.

Full disclosure: I stopped reading this book after 110 out of its whopping 541 pages. The notion of grinding through the next 431 pages was too discouraging, and I found it u...more
The Literary Bystander (nxlee)
Why is it that every time I hear/read about a story about a girl who sets out to rescue her baby brother from some magical creature in a whole fantasy-esque land, my thoughts immediately turn to Labyrinth? I mean, it was kind of hard for me to ignore it in The Iron King but I also got those type of vibes in this book too. But you know, without the awesomeness that is David Bowie.


Readers, please - contain yourself.

But eventually, as I continued reading - this book became this reminder of several...more
Bonnie
'We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.'

Sometimes I wish I didn't give out star-ratings and only wrote reviews, I think sometimes that would be easier than feeling it necessary to justify a low rating despite the fact that I DID like it. But there were some big problems I had...more
Jessie
Fun fact: When my husband was a child he was in a community theater play with Colin Meloy. Also, I listened to a lot of Tarkio in college in Montana and love the Decemberists. So I came to this as a fan of Meloy and was excited to hear his take on an "American Narnia without all the Jesus" as I've heard it described.

But ye gods, what a snoozefest this turned out to be. I hated, hated, hated the main characters. I know this is supposed to be a fantasy, but seriously. What upper middle class Portl...more
Kim
I picked this book up on the author's name alone. I'm a big Decemberists fan so there was no way I couldn't grab it. I have to say though that I was a bit disappointed.

Firstly I don't know who this book was truly made for. At 560 pages it's not a small book. Much too long for young children as well as quite dark and violent in places. For older children I don't think it is quite realistic in terms of characters or fantastical enough in setting. The lead character listens to vinyl and does yoga a...more
Sarah
So far so good. It reminds me of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, which was my favorite 2011 read.
Liana
Short version: I do not recommend Wildwood. I can't guarantee that a middle-grade aged reader wouldn't have been swept up by it, but I found it to be pretty boring. The illustrations were excellent, though.

Longer version: This book is the story of Prue, a twelve-year old, and her friend Curtis who venture into a huge, magical forest near Portland, Oregon to recover Prue's baby brother, who was kidnapped by crows. Inside the forest are several governments who squabble with each other and animals...more
Haley
Note: I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

For all the other reviews that rave, I suppose I shall have to add myself to the 'eh' category. It was okay. The elements to create an epic fantasy story were there- bandits, talking creatures, a stalwart young'un with a birth secret on a quest to save (part of) her family, princes and kings, the rising of armies to (sort of) follow said stalwart young'un, etc etc etc. It just didn't make it to the "spellbinding tale f...more
Chloe
It should really come as no surprise that Colin Meloy would one day turn his spirited imagination to the world of young adult fiction. He has been crafting some of the most exquisitely lyrical songs in rock for over a decade now, from rowsings descriptions of an opulent caravan's entry into a city and odes to America's most famous spy to lengthy epics about bandits on mist-wrapped islands and revenge tales to put Monte Cristo to shame. With a mind so firmly rooted in grand tales of picaresque ch...more
Katharine
I have been a fan of Colin Meloy's songwriting skills for almost ten years so when I started this book I assumed that I would love it, I didn't and I'm kind of bummed that it didn't live up to my expectations.

First, the book is definitely too long! I know that its part one of a series so there has to be a lot of building up, however, a good hundred pages could probably be edited out of this book. There are several key scenes that drag on too long and as a result any excitement or suspense tha...more
rachel
Sep 09, 2012 rachel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kid-lit, abandoned
Despite the whimsical setting of Wildwood, with soldier coyotes and avian guards, this book is disappointingly un-childlike. An eleven year old name drops Kurosawa. I don't believe they do that even in ultra hip Oregon, Colin Meloy.

...though reading about twelve year old Prue eating vegetarian and perusing record bins, whether ironically or unironically (does it even matter anymore whether hipsters are sincere or not?), gave me a hankering to watch Portlandia again. And there's nothing wrong wit...more
Kerith
This debut novel from the singer-songwriter of The Decemberists is worth all kinds of praise. I first heard this described as an "American Narnia, without all the religion" and that's not too bad of a description. From the very beginning the reader is sucked in, as main character Prue's baby brother is suddenly and inexplicably carried off by a murder of crows. Not long after that we discover that the setting, Portland, is also home to the mysterious and disapproving Impassable Wilderness, into...more
First Second Books
Gina: I love how illustrations can set the tone for a text, because these definitely did! Carson Ellis’ pen-and-watercolor illustrations (with occasional color plates) felt old-fashioned and Portland-y and exactly the thing you want to be reading when it comes time to be sweaterweather – coincidentally now!
Mark: Still slowly savoring WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy and it's delightful in every
way. Regardless of the controversy about whether this is YA or not, this
one is a treat.
Cheri
I’m not a big Decemberist’s fan, although I know who they are, have heard some of their music, but it had nothing to do with my decision to read this book.

I suspect that this book is a must-read for any Portland area residents, It does require a high degree of leniency and a stretch of reality – but then again it isn’t meant to be a non-fiction book. A lot of people seem to have trouble with Prue’s character, but I read this largely because she reminded me a lot of the eldest of the youngest gr...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Feb 08, 2014 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who wanted Narnia to be wordier and irreligious
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

I finally finished! I had been so looking forward to a nice swift read. I mean, middle grade novels go so quickly. Not this one, mostly because I don't really think it's a middle grade novel at all, despite the publishers marketing of it to ages 8+. This book has been on my radar for ages because of my Decemberists obsession. My blog's name is even a paraphrase of a line from one of their songs. For those who don't know, Colin Meloy is the lead singer. W...more
Alex
When a songwriter as singular as The Decemberists' Colin Meloy decides to write a fantasy novel for kids, it's time to put aside whatever book one is currently reading and take a plunge. Though Wildwood has officially made the list of books I plan on reading to my future kids, I was hoping for something more in tune with any of the songs from their album Picaresque." Meloy's way with words was definitely present, but it didn't grab me in the same way that "The Mariner's Revenge Song" did--which...more
Kirsten
Meh. I really liked the concept here: a sort of Alternate Portland with an Impassible Wilderness in St. John's, with the St. John's bridge as a ghostly portal. But I was pretty disappointed with the execution.

The language is often kind of overwritten and clunky. Prue and Curtis are not well-defined as characters; I wasn't even able to put my finger on how old Prue was supposed to be until she came right out and said she was twelve at one point. First I thought she was much younger, if precocious...more
Nick Scott
I was lucky to get an ARC of this book. I loved it. First of all, it's very well written. At the very beginning, when the little brother is abducted by the crows, I was a little weary, as it started off feeling like a Lemony Snicket wanna-be. Luckily the book hit its stride early and didn't falter the rest of the way. The basic concept of Wildwood, that there is a fantasy world in the real-life woods just outside of Portland, Oregon, is what made me want to read the book in the first place. Melo...more
Louisa
Okay, I'll be the first to say I really enjoyed Wildwood. It was fun and there was lots of references to obscure weaponry and some blood and guts and a lost baby and a bat-shit crazy Queen-falling-on-hard-times type. You know, all the reasons I'm kind of momentarily intrigued by the occasional Decembrists song. However, as a children's librarian, I found myself absolutely confused as to what child of my acquaintance might even be remotely interested in reading this. And man, I would be lying if...more
Almira
Set in modern day Portland, OR, there is an area known as "I.W." otherwise known as the "Impassable Wilderness", and as our journey begins, we know that no one that has ever ventured into the "I.W." has ever ventured out and told about it.

Prue McKeel is just an ordinary kid, or so she thinks at the onset, having taken her baby brother to a local park one day, she witnesses a "murder of crows" abduct him, and carry him off towards the forest of the "I.W.", naturally, she realizes that since he wa...more
Keith
Wildwood earns four stars. Why? Because, as a book, as a physical object with a hard cover, dust jacket, paper and ink, color inset illustrations and maps, it is a wonder. It surrounds the story so well. A rare thing these days to feel such substance, that you are holding a work of art. Hats off to Meloy, Ellis, and their book designer, who should be acknowledged somewhere in the next edition. And to Harper Collins for not cutting any corners in its production.

The story itself is inventive and a...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: Wildwood - Spoilers 15 19 Jun 21, 2014 12:54PM  
Kirkwood Public L...: One Book, One Kirkwood Teen Discussion 3 19 Jun 02, 2014 02:24PM  
Test 1 16 Apr 21, 2014 02:03PM  
Mock Newbery 2015: October Read- Wildwood 7 94 Jan 19, 2012 08:48PM  
  • The Apothecary (The Apothecary, #1)
  • Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
  • Liesl & Po
  • The Humming Room
  • A Hero For WondLa (WondLa, #2)
  • The Cabinet of Earths (Maya and Valko, #1)
  • Cold Cereal
  • The Mostly True Story of Jack
  • The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1)
  • Kat, Incorrigible (Kat, Incorrigible, #1)
  • Juniper Berry
  • Secrets at Sea
  • The Nine Pound Hammer (The Clockwork Dark, #1)
  • Summer and Bird
  • Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, #1)
  • The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
  • Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
  • Down the Mysterly River
10741
Colin Patrick Henry Meloy (born October 5, 1974) is the lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon folk-rock band The Decemberists. In addition to his vocal duties, he plays acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, and percussion. As of 2005, Meloy has written a 100-page book on The Replacements' fourth album, Let It Be, released as part of the 33⅓ series.

Mel...more
More about Colin Meloy...
Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #2) Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles, #3) Let it Be The Grievous Demise of Mr. Whitley Rackham Wildwood Complete Collection: Wildwood, Under Wildwood, Wildwood Imperium

Share This Book

1 trivia question
2 quizzes
More quizzes & trivia...
“We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.” 30 likes
“As she walked, she breathed a quick benediction to the patron saint of sleuthing. "Nancy Drew," she whispered, "be with me now.” 19 likes
More quotes…