Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs.
Hazel and Jack have been friends for a long time, but once they enter middle school, it is more difficult. Hazel is dreamy and unfocused, so other students make fun of her, especially the boys with whom Jack is now spending time. Things are not good at home, either. Hazel's father has moved out, her mother is overworked, and Hazel feels that she doesn't "match" her mother, since she was adopted from India and her mother is more typical to Minnesota. When Jack is hit by a snowball, and shard of ice "enters" him, and he is whisked off by the evil snow queen. Hazel seems to be the only one who misses him-- his parents tell everyone he has been sent to stay with an elderly aunt. Hazel enters the fairy tale world into which Jack has been sucked to try to rescue him and encounters a number of fairy tale entities.
Strengths: Lyrical language, interesting twist on fairy tales, nice multicultural touch, and good description of the breaking down of middle school relationships.
Weaknesses: I didn't like Hazel at all, and somehow it was difficult to suspend disbelief and enter the fantasy world. This wasn't a problem in The Chronus Chronicles, so I was surprised. Also, the ending was a bit too neat for my taste.