Thursday, August 30, 2018


Summary (via Amazon):

"The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.
Debut author L.L. McKinney delivers an action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue."


This is an engaging reimagining of the Alice story, chock-full of fun (and, yes, heartbreaking) elements. There are several wonderful characters to meet, and McKinney smartly introduces the greatly appealing Hatta right from the start, who pulls both Alice and the reader into the adventure of the book. I have soft spots for the book's version of the Dormouse and Alice's friend, whose costume choice for a birthday party, handled subtly by McKinney, KILLED ME. (I don't want to give anything more away, but THE SWEETNESS. IT BREAKS ME.) But in Wonderland, the fierce female characters we meet (and the love stories among them!!! Yes, f/f rep!) take this to the next level. Add in a strong, highly-relatable voice, the Buffy-style issues Alice deals with with her mom and friends, and the final twist, and this is an exciting debut lovers of all things Wonderland will enjoy. Moreover, the connections McKinney makes between the threats in Wonderland and very real threats in our world add a layer of meaning to this book that will make it all the more important to get into the hands of teen readers. And as someone who enjoyed Alice as a child and Buffy as a teen, I can only imagine what this story will mean to young Black readers today. It's an unbirthday present for everyone (unless your birthday is September 25th, then sorry!).

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