For Julie, fairy tales have never been anything but real--as real as the twisting mess of vines known as the Wild that she hides under her bed. Her mom Rapunzel and a bunch of other fairy-tale heroes and villains escaped from the Wild centuries ago, back when it was grown to its full size, and ever since it's been confined to odd corners of Julie and Rapunzel's house. Sure, it's a nuisance--Julie would rather get out of bed in the morning without discovering the Wild had transformed her shoes or backpack while she was asleep--but as long as it stays there, whatever Rapunzel and all the other fairy-tale characters seem to be worried about can't happen.
That is, until a wish releases the Wild again. It swallows Julie's Massachusetts hometown in a mass of dangerous, magical trees--and steals her mom and grandmother into its depths. And Julie plunges into the Wild to save them.
But the Wild is a darker and more dangerous place than Julie ever could have imagined, where familiar people are caught in endless tales and nothing stays in its apparent shape for long. Julie must navigate stories that try to ensnare her, outwit witches, griffins, and giants, and uncover the truth about her mother's past to save her family and her home--and maybe find her own happily ever after. The Wild is determined to stop her, though, trying to force Julie into different stories and break her resolve, and she has to ask herself: what if the price of success is the one thing she's always wanted more than anything?
I've loved some of Sarah Beth Durst's other books (including The Stone Girl's Story and Spark), and so when I came across Into the Wild, I was hoping it would be just as good. It was. Durst weaves together fairy tales and the modern day into a fully believable story brimming with determination, love, and imagination. All the characters are interesting and well-executed, particularly the fairy-tale characters. I highly recommend Into the Wild to readers ages nine and up.