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Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1)

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3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,436 Ratings  ·  2,527 Reviews
Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird.

You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled ‘I.W.’ This stands for ‘Impassable Wilderness.’ No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

And this is where the crows take
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Hardcover, 541 pages
Published September 19th 2011 by Viking (first published January 1st 2011)
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Popular Answered Questions

Meadow There is a second novel in this series. It's called Under Wildwood.
Charlie Garratt I feel like I'm spoiling it for you, but yes, Prue does get Mac back.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carmine
Nov 30, 2011 Carmine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
samm
Oct 18, 2011 samm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Daven
Feb 24, 2012 Daven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
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
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Mayra Sigwalt
Jul 27, 2016 Mayra Sigwalt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: livros-que-tenho
Wildwood me surpreendeu bastante. Primeiro por ser um livro infantil bem longo, são 500 páginas só de história (as ilustrações não são contabilizadas). E segundo por ser um livro infantil épico. No sentido de O Hobbit e As Crônicas de Narnia. O livro não foge da violência, da complexidade do texto (tive dificuldade com algumas palavras e aprendi várias) e de oferecer um sistema político e social. Nada aqui é mastigadinho pra criança e isso me deixou muito feliz. O legal da Prue - nossa heroina - ...more
Irmak
Apr 05, 2016 Irmak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kütüphanem
Sanki 500 sayfalık bir çocuk kitabı okudum ama bundan gram sıkılmadım. Evet çocuk kitaplarını seviyorum :')
Lily
Mar 10, 2012 Lily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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The Rusty Key
Sep 12, 2011 The Rusty Key rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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The Chuck
Aug 19, 2012 The Chuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Natalie
Aug 08, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Oh my gosh, I loved this. A really good story, and beautiful illustrations!

Full review coming soon.
Dasha
Jun 02, 2011 Dasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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The Literary Bystander
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
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Ashley Daviau
Apr 21, 2016 Ashley Daviau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time reading this book and it was even more enchantingly spellbinding than the first time I read it! I think I was in just the right mood to reread this because I found myself flying through it, unable to stop turning the pages! Such a magical tale that so reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia. I love this book and cannot wait to dive back into the second as well!
Jessie
Dec 05, 2012 Jessie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Haley
Aug 23, 2011 Haley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
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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
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Sarah
So far so good. It reminds me of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, which was my favorite 2011 read.
Suad Shamma
Jan 13, 2016 Suad Shamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015
So let me start off by saying, this book is beautiful. The illustrations are gorgeous!
I love me a book with graphics and illustrations.

The story itself was also quite excellent. I truly enjoyed Prue and Curtis's journey through the Impassable Wilderness, and with an abundance of characters, I found it remarkable to have been able to create so many excitingly different personas within the wilderness. The book follows the story of Prue whose infant brother was abducted by crows and taken into the
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Steph // bookplaits
In three words: whimsical, cute, unoriginal.

"'It's better to live presently. By living thus, perhaps we can learn to understand the nature of this fragile coexistence we share with the world around us.'"

If I'm being honest, a lot of the magic of Wildwood comes from Ellis' stunning illustrations – they are utterly delightful and complement Meloy’s story really well. I can only imagine how gorgeous the artwork is in colour (in the hardback edition)! Although, overall, this book was a fun, sweet re
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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
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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
Keith
Jan 02, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
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rachel
Sep 09, 2012 rachel marked it as abandoned
Shelves: own, kid-lit
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
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Amber
May 21, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
Prue's baby brother Mac has been spirited away by Crows into the Impassable wilderness of Wildwood. Curtis follows her and tries to help her find her brother. Coyotes split them up. Can they get back to each other save Mac, and get out of this magical world to go home? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read and the illustrations were beautiful. If you like Ya and fantasy stories, definitely check it out. I am going to wait until my library has the rest of the trilogy befor
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Sandee
Nov 29, 2014 Sandee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so I have to admit first that this book sat untouched on my "to read" shelf since it arrived there last Christmas, largely ignored due to girth (it is 541 pages) and genre (young adult fantasy or any fantasy in general is not my go-to). It only made its way on to the amazon wishlist because it is written by Colin Meloy and I love The Decemberists and his quirky style of storytelling's via song (one of my favorites being "The Mariner's Revenge Song " told from inside the belly of a whale - anothe ...more
Cheri
Apr 05, 2014 Cheri rated it really liked it
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
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Feb 08, 2014 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 33 series.

Melo
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More about Colin Meloy...

Other Books in the Series

Wildwood Chronicles (3 books)
  • Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #2)
  • Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles, #3)

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“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.” 45 likes
“As she walked, she breathed a quick benediction to the patron saint of sleuthing. "Nancy Drew," she whispered, "be with me now.” 28 likes
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