The best way I can describe this book is like this: freaking adorable. I genuinely loved the way Philbrick doesn’t feel like he must conform to any norms of fantasy stories. Does it need to have action and adventure? Okay, I’ll give you action and adventure mixed with flowers and rainbows. Does it need to have young love? Okay, I’ll give you young love, but one of them is disabled. Does it need to have scary creatures and monsters? Okay, I’ll give you scary creatures and monsters, but then I’ll also give you creatures that throw acorns at you.
This story follows the tale of a young man who stumbles into an enchanted forest and gets lost and the many adventures he finds along the way. He makes new friends, makes enemies, tries to discern who is friend and who is enemy, and discovers the life-changing truth that all young people must face: true friends are hard to come by, but when they do, you will know it.
But that’s not all this enchanting story tackles. The author addresses issues in a light-hearted, humorous way, it’s true, but he also addresses them without pulling any punches. There are consequences to choices that we make, and the characters must deal with those consequences.
I’d definitely recommend this for younger readers who like standalone stories without too much romance (the characters are never physically involved except to hold hands), creatures who you want to put in your pocket and take home with you, and adults who want a nostalgic read with humor and good writing.