Wednesday 27 May 2020

REVIEW: Wonderland by Juno Dawson

Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Quercus Children's Books
Genre: Retelling, Contemporary
Release Date: May 28th 2020
TW: Drug Use, Suicide, Self-harm, Assault
Buy the Book: Book Depository

What happens when you fall down the rabbit hole? The compulsive must-have follow-up to CLEAN and MEAT MARKET from bestselling author Juno Dawson

Alice lives in a world of stifling privilege and luxury - but none of it means anything when your own head plays tricks on your reality. When her troubled friend Bunny goes missing, Alice becomes obsessed with finding her. On the trail of her last movements, Alice discovers a mysterious invitation to 'Wonderland': the party to end all parties - three days of hedonistic excess to which only the elite are welcome.

Will she find Bunny there? Or is this really a case of finding herself? Because Alice has secrets of her own, and ruthless socialite queen Paisley Hart is determined to uncover them, whatever it takes.

Alice is all alone, miles from home and without her essential medication. She can trust no-one, least of all herself, and now she has a new enemy who wants her head...
Throughout this book we follow Alice, a student at a private London school. After spending a night with fellow student Bunny, Alice takes it upon herself to find out why she disappeared without a trace after their night together. Her journey leads her to Wonderland, an exclusive party for those high in society.

There’s nothing I love more than an exciting retelling of a classic story, and Alice in Wonderland always has so much potential with such a world to play with. What I especially liked about this version was that it was still set in our world, so the events, no matter how wild and dramatic, were still things that could possibly happen.

Alice, what can I say? I love her with my whole heart. She’s exactly the type of character we need more of in YA. Brutally honest, she says it like it is without apology. I appreciated slowly learning about her past as the story progressed. We come to know why she is on meds and the fears she has about returning to the dark place she was in. It was important that she referred to her therapist from time to time because I’ve read an alarming number of books that don’t shed a positive light on therapists from the beginning. It’s a part of life that we desperately need to normalise.I also loved how she openly discussed her body issues as a trans girl. This is exactly why we need more trans main characters in YA.

These versions of the Alice in Wonderland characters are genius. I’m a sucker for a set of characters that are…shall we say Morally Challenged? But they all have a complex and intriguing backstory that gives us a glimpse into their complicated lives.

  • Setting and storytelling. The world of high society is always an interesting one. This book showcases how money can help people avoid consequences. As terrifying as it is, it still happens all the time. 
  • Honest discussions about mental health. We see Alice slip into darker moments and what she experiences during them.
  • Character growth. It’s so rewarding to see Alice experiment and discover things about herself during her weekend at Wonderland.
  • Important topics. This book openly discusses drugs, self-harm, sexual assault, and much more. It doesn’t shy away from gritty details that need to be told.
  • PANSEXUAL REP!!!!!! I'm CONSTANTLY searching for pan characters in YA so I was thrilled when that was how Alice identified herself.

An engaging, dark, yet magical story, Wonderland never fails to give readers a surprise. It’s a re-imagining of a well-loved tale but manages to be unique and intriguing in its own right. Alice takes us on an unforgettable journey with her sarcastic and honest commentary entertaining us the whole way.

1 comment:

  1. I just learned about this book’s existence yesterday! I don’t usually read retellings, but Alice in Wonderland was one of my childhood favorites, so I’m curious. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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