Alice is only sixteen and already doing badly in the world, defying the law and doing poorly at school.1 But she doesn’t want the world anyway. She wants to be that fantastic and dangerous thing, a Wonder. Of course, she soon reaches Wonderland, and all its color and chaos cannot hide its darkness. In The Wonderland Trials, Sara Ella crafts a dystopian retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic, reinventing with flair all Wonderland’s denizens and infusing the story with freshness. Characters are sharply realized, and first-person narration gives the young heroine an appealing voice. The novel explores themes of believing without seeing, yet grants religion little notice or importance. Although indebted to a classic, The Wonderland Trials is inventive and colorful in its own right, abundantly able to charm and to intrigue.
Best for: Fans of dystopian tales and modern retellings of classic stories.
Discern: Peril to minors; games that serves as popular entertainment and sometimes cause physical injury to adolescents; frequent deception, even among those purportedly on the right side; the heroine steals and breaks the law without repentance or reckoning.