Review: ‘Alice in Wonderland High’ by Rachel Shane #2016HW

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel ShaneRe-imagining fairy tales and their sistren has been a hot commodity lately in the book world. You’ve got a built-in audience of people who already know the story and will enjoy trying to find the similarities with their favorite stories. And while I love many of these, I can rarely pass up an opportunity to read a re-boot of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In this version, Alice Liddell is a high school student whose parents died on their way to a protest. She lives with her sister, Lorina, in Wonderland, Illinois. The town has been changing for the worse, pushing out the farmers and idyllic life that used to be ubiquitous to their area. Though Alice’s parents helped to get the nuclear power plant shut down, the residents aren’t really any better off than they were before.

Sick of the ruination of the environment, Alice tries to do what she can by herself to make improvements. Then she stumbles upon a group of eco warriors – and she wants to join, no matter what – even if she discovers that perhaps her parents’ deaths wasn’t an accident after all…

This version just felt…nope. Instead of melding the Alice story in a seamless manner, it felt like someone took a random story and superimposed the bits over it. It wasn’t as if the story was Alice-y in tone to begin with and then the references were merged in there; they seemed to be frantically waving and hooting an air horn to get your attention. I couldn’t tell if this story was supposed to be serious or cute.

The names of the main characters – Whitney Lapin (get it?), Chester Katz, Kingston Hatter, Quinn Hart, Dinah Tenniel and Dru Tweedle – made me roll my eyes like a middle school girl at a lame parent festival. And so many episodes and references from the classic tale are thrust into the action (pigs in baby clothes, ravens and writing desks, painting roses red, the trial, etc.) but in a way that you sigh and say “here we go again” instead of “that’s clever!” It’s distracting and detracts from the underlying story/message.

If all of the Alice was stripped from the story, then it would be something. Contrary wise of what you do have, which is to say, meh. You see?

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane was published April 18, 2015 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher and the Author.

Rating: 2.5

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance 
Ages: 13 and up

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