Alice in Wonderland High
Release Date: April 18, 2015
Publisher: Merit Press
Synopsis on Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Alice just can’t find a way to be free. Her parents are environmental activists whose cringeworthy public protests might involve chaining themselves to a fence and pleading with passersby to “Save the World. Save Alice!” It’s not that Alice doesn’t believe there’s work to be done. But after a petition to start a farmers’ market meets with more snickers than signatures, she figures she should shut up instead of speak out. At least, that is, until she can find something that feels real. Then along comes Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens. Charismatic Whitney leads Alice on a rabbit trail into the underground—a.k.a. secret society—of Wonderland High.
Curiouser and curiouser. Alice is in wonderland! Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, with them, Alice is finally free to be herself. She stomps on her good-girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress the new group: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz—a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice’s world backwards. But then one of the young vigilantes tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, and she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”
So I actually read this book back in early 2016, but I found some old journals of mine and I’ve been writing mini-reviews on books I read some time ago based on notes in those journals. This review is shorter than my usual ones but I still wanted to share it. I think it’s good to bring back backlist titles every now and then. There are so many books published each year, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss a few.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH was an enjoyable read, with writing I immediately connected with and a good retelling of Alice in Wonderland, something we haven’t quite seen before in YA. I loved the protagonist Alice, she was smart and likeable, but also flawed. I also loved the other characters, they were an entertaining bunch – funny and mysterious! I wasn’t quite into the plot, I think the book was a bit underwhelming in that sense. The plot was solid but I wasn’t 100% into it.
I think when it comes to retellings I might stick to fantasy, I just prefer that over contemporary. I recommend this for YA contemporary readers looking for a solid retelling.
I did love the slight reference to Neverland at the end, that was really intriguing. I loved thinking about how my favourite characters from Peter Pan were retold in the author’s book world!