The beloved children’s classic is reimagined as a teen treatise on environmental activism.
After Alice’s parents die in a car accident on the way to protest farmland rezoning in Wonderland, Illinois, she vows to keep their ideals alive by staging her own actions. After a failed solo attempt to steal school letterhead and donate it to the recycling center, Alice decides to join forces with a vigilante eco-group whose members resemble the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat. Together, they vandalize private property and homes in the name of environmentalism, rescue a pig from experimentation, and investigate why Wonderland township is forcing family farmers off their land and building housing complexes. At least, that’s what they seem to be investigating. The overwritten prose is so densely populated with self-conscious similes and metaphors it is often difficult to follow the convoluted plot. Far too many actions and statements are repeated in greater detail in the following paragraph, to the point where readers may feel they’re being told over and over what just happened. Finally, the author is so busy making the characters painfully and obviously conform to their literary counterparts that any spark of personality or characterization is squashed. What is left is a message-y, cliché-ridden mishmash that neither breaks new ground nor pays homage to its inspiration.
Leave this novel at the bottom of the rabbit hole. (Fiction. 10-13)