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!”
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
* A special thanks to Merit Press for this review copy*
I love Alice in Wonderland retellings and that's that. I haven't read one yet that has disappointed me, and this one is no exception.
With an odd backstory of eco-friendly, go green, tree hugging weirdness--I was a little concerned I wouldn't really enjoy this story. I thought it might read a little cheesy but despite my previous concerns--I really enjoyed this story.
A breakdown of the plot: Alice's parents, are what you might call tree huggers. They're very into an eco-friendly lifestyle--but, they're also dead. Dead, and their reputation has left behind a bad taste in everyone's mouths--Alice's the most. Alice can't seem to out live her parents reputation--but there's a large part of her that doesn't want to. You see, Alice wants to continue her parent's work--but she'd rather not be a social pariah while she's at it. In steps the quirky, the odd, and the strange, Whitney, Kingston Hatter, and Chester Katz. Can I just say that I thought the author was very clever in the way she chose to use the names?!
Alice joins this group of misfits, unwanted at first--doing a series of environment pranks. Getting in more trouble than she's ever imagined.
The characters: I loved them. They were what I love about Alice in Wonderland retellings. They're odd, and out there--and down right strange. There's something I really enjoyed about that. They're uninhibited and such fun. Whitney spoke in these weird riddles, Kingston was mad--literally, and Chess had a grin to rival the original cat.
I really didn't think I'd care for the environmental aspect of the book, and while it wasn't exactly riveting--it was clean fun. It's perfect for actual YA readers--because it never really passes that line that some YA books do. It stayed clean, there was kissing, but it was clean. But it still has crossover appeal--so adults will enjoy it also. It was just a really great, light read. I'm excited to see what Shane has up her sleeve--maybe a continuation?