A 12-year-old girl who doesn’t fit into her own world embarks on a harrowing quest with a boy she doesn’t trust to find her missing father.
With white hair and skin, quirky Alice Queensmeadow’s an oddity in colorful, magical Ferenwood. Since her father’s mysterious disappearance “unzipped her from top to bottom,” Alice finds life full of “unspoken hurts.” Alice hopes to prove herself in the annual Surrender, when 12-year-olds demonstrate their unique magical talents. Humiliated by her disappointing performance and with “nothing left to lose and an entire father to find,” Alice accepts an invitation from brown-skinned Oliver, a boy she distrusts, to help him bring home her father. Together they descend to alien Furthermore, starting with Slumber, the first of many peculiar villages they will encounter, each with arbitrary rules they must follow. Learning Oliver has deceived her, Alice ditches him but quickly discovers they need each other to survive and find her father. Told in rich, luscious, clever prose by an omniscient narrator whose chatty asides warn and inform, Alice’s remarkable adventure transports her across bizarre landscapes where she eventually realizes how wonderful it is to be herself and to have a friend she can trust.
An original new Alice confronts her own wonderland in this smashing fantasy. (Fantasy. 9-12)