Melissa at 1000 Plus
on May 23, 2011 :
"Hazel Wetherby is a 13 year old student turned Private Eye who is on the case of her missing parents that were kidnapped by Aliens. Left to deal with her younger siblings, one of which who claims to be an Alien, Hazel has little time to spare to unravel the whereabouts of her parents.
The young Private Eye is suddenly thrown into the middle of a huge intergalactic mission for a secret formula, that her parents worked on. Hazel's parents lives and the lives of many others depends on finding the formula before the Aliens do."
Lets Talk About It:
The story was a wild ride through Hazel unraveling the secrets behind her parents disappearance, her interaction (and reaction) to Aliens some of who are allies and her courageous attempts to get to the formula before anyone else could. Even with being hunted by numerous parties trying to take her out of the picture, Hazel and her friends never gave up.
Hazel is a great character and even though some of the things in the book that happened weren't exactly things I could see happening in real life it was still written well enough to where it could be believable. I mean, if Aliens exist in this book why can't a 13 year old hire a housekeeper and rent an office?
There were many characters in the book that I really enjoyed. Kierkegaard, Hazel's brother, being one of them. This kid, I mean Alien, is a hoot. Here everyone thinks he's crazy saying that he is an Alien named Proctor inside Kierkegaard's body but it's actually true! Igor the housekeeper and the way he came to truly and deeply care for the children even though he was hired help.
The only negative here is that there was so many characters beyond the main ones that at times I didn't know who was who or what was what. I had to re-read and double back a couple of times so that I could figure out who that person was. That is not enough to deter me from purchasing the second book if there is one.
In fact, I really hope that this ends up turning into a series. I'm a big fan of Hazel and Kierkegaard/Proctor and hope to see them in another book soon!
Reviewer for 1000 + Books to Read
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on May 5, 2011 :
Author Bill Defelis describes his first published work as ”Nancy Drew meets Men in Black,” and that’s a very apt description. Hazel’s detective work and the surreal situation make for an enticing combination. Once I was able to get into the “Men in Black” zone, I was better able to suspend belief (particularly about things like 13-year-old Hazel starting her own detective agency and hiring her own housekeeper without any adults batting an eye) and enjoy the ride. Generally well-edited (not enough typos to be distracting), this book is unique and entertaining, taking readers on a fantastical ride full of surprises. The writing style is well-suited for its target age group, with the kind of vocabulary and sentence structure that will stretch younger readers while still providing an interesting story for older readers.
With its bizarre storyline and eccentric characters, this story has a lot of entertainment value. Even if I was a bit confused at times, I was never bored. A quick review after I’d finished the story really shed some light on the storyline as a whole for me, and earlier passages that served to initially confuse me made sense after all. I wish it hadn’t taken me that second read to get that closure, and that may actually speak to my own difficulty in completely immersing in the story. Although the plot is intriguing and humorous enough to draw in readers, this story really shines through its quirky characters. Hazel is relatively down-to-Earth, but she thinks outside the box, adding interest and surprise to her character. Her younger brother is never boring, and I found myself wondering several times if his story would turn out to be more than it seemed. It did, but not in the way I expected, and that was a little disappointing. The ending expertly leaves the door wide open for a second installment in this potential series, which leads me to believe there may be more to Kierkegaard’s story after all. Rounding out the cast, the reader is introduced to a variety of alien life forms along with a selection of humans in on the action. None of the characters are really forgettable, and that’s always a good thing.
Overall, a fun and unique adventure for the middle school set.
3.5 /5 stars @ MotherLode review blog- gracekrispy.com
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on April 22, 2011 :
In this wildly entertaining book, we follow a thirteen-year-old as she tries to deal with missing parents, stalkers, alien invasions, and a crush on the boy next door. (Technically, he lives across the street and one house over, but who really keeps track of these things?) A mixture of spunk, obstinacy, and a dangerously underdeveloped regard for personal safety, Hazel is every bit the believable "tween", equal parts endearing and infuriating for the adult reader, though young adolescents may see in her something more identifiable.
First off, this plot was rather well thought out. Different "bad guys", "good guys", and the cars they drove were mixed in at various time points, introduced early on and then reintroduced with the gradual revelation of at least some of their motives and activities. While side stories can be distracting or unnecessary, they flesh out the story nicely here; they give the reader a better sense of individual characters' personalities and any significant circumstances. Suffice it to say that some of my suspicions proved more fruitful than others.
The story is told from the perspective of a reasonably precocious thirteen-year-old, a curious combination of slang and high school level vocabulary. Somehow, the tone of voice still sounds age-appropriate, and I had no trouble believing that Hazel really is a middle school student, albeit one with a diversified mental bank of words. On the whole, Defelis proves himself quite adept at creating characters that are at once entertaining, consistent, and easily accessible.
While middle grade fiction often requires a suspension of belief and the shutting off of adult thought patterns, I found myself skeptical more often than not about the things that Hazel was able to accomplish as a minor — renting an office space, for one, and avoiding visits from social services for another. The improbability of these and a few other things was a chunky pill to swallow, though it did eventually go down.
Hazel Wetherby & the Elixir of Love is a book that I can see "tweens" enjoying. The plot moves quickly enough to maintain interest, while the story itself is engrossing. Even this grown up stayed up well past her usual bedtime just to find out how it all ends. Suffice it to say that a sequel would be greatly appreciated.
Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
(Review copy provided by the author)
(reviewed 88 days after purchase)