After Alice

288p. ebook available. Morrow. 2015. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9780060548957; ebk. ISBN 9780062410825.
The story of Lewis Carroll's Alice is turned upside down as Ada, a neighbor and friend, also falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Afterwards, life progresses for those aboveground, some of whom start looking for both girls. Maguire creatively adapts the classic tale, mixing whimsy with science as he finds a way to work in Charles Darwin and his research on natural selection and an American abolitionist into the narrative. Teenagers will feel comfortable reading about well-known characters such as the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts. This sense of familiarity, along with the brisk pace of the novel, will help readers through the often challenging vocabulary. They may also enjoy references to literary works from Dante and Shakespeare to J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. As in the source material, there is great language play and there is no shortage of clever riddles. The secondary characters are just as fun, and teens may identify with Lydia, the older sister who is happy to be rid of Alice for the day while mourning the loss of her mother. With an open ending, this could easily become another popular series opener like Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995).
VERDICT Teens who enjoy reimagined tales, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, or any of Maguire's previous works will line up to read his newest creation.

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