Amulet Books: ABRAMS, 2013, 371 pages
9781419709708, Paperback, $8.95
Alyssa Gardener has a secret; she can hear the thoughts of bugs and plants. The great-great-great-granddaughter of Lewis Carroll’s muse, Alice Liddell, is the most recent of the women in her family with this ability. She’s also the only one still alive and not in a mental institution. But what if the women in her family haven’t been mad? What if Wonderland really does exist? What if Alyssa can end this family “curse” once and for all?
I enjoyed this retelling of Alice in Wonderland. A. G. Howard definitely follows the Tim Burton interpretation of the world, and twist it just a bit more toward the nd was wonderful. She implies that Carroll didn’t completely understand the true nature ofiar with the original story will get a kick out of learning the true nature of Wonderland right alongside Alyssa.
The only part I didn’t enjoy was the rivalry between the mortal Jeb and netherling Morpheus for Alyssa’s affections; It felt forced to me. I understand that each boy represents a side of Alyssa herself, I’m just not completely sure I buy into it. Jeb is one of Alyssa’s best friends, and she has a major crush on him, but he has a girlfriend. Morpheus was the best friend of her childhood dreams, and he’s been waiting for her since she was a child. The love triangle is an overused trope in YA literature, and I don’t think it was entirely necessary for this story. Perhaps it will flow a bit easier in the following novels.