WONDERLAND by Joanna Nadin

WONDERLAND

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Stella first appeared shortly after Jude’s mother died. Now that Jude is 16 and eager to escape her small English town and her classmates’ torment, her childhood friend is back, “carrying cigarettes and sunglasses and possibility.” Jude feels like a faded version of her actress mother, but Stella emboldens her to leave her self-imposed obscurity to audition at a London drama school. Jude wants to be Stella, who speaks in film lines, dresses provocatively and chides Jude for still being a virgin. Jude’s internal world is a place of her own invention, where she took refuge after her mother’s death. Nadin keeps the first-person narration squarely within this world, deftly weaving together the intricate parts of a psychological puzzle as she slowly reveals the true nature of the girls’ relationship. Jude’s voice is a blend of biting teen angst and fragile ego. When Stella tells Jude “there is no me without you,” Jude is forced to come to grips with her recent gaps in memory and Stella’s destructive influence. Teens harboring a secret wish to be anyone other than who they are will identify with Jude’s struggle to shrug off her status as a misfit. A promising U.S. debut for teens—here’s hoping for more from this British writer. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4846-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2011