Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Wonderland, by Joanna Nadin

It is difficult for me to write my thoughts about Wonderland. It is a book with a “twist,” and I figured out the twist at about page 13. I think it’s because I recently read a similar book. After much consideration, I decided not to tell you the name of THAT book (and I figured out that ending about half way through) because I don’t want to ruin either book for anyone. So, given those parameters, I’ll do my best.

Jude is an ordinary 16-year-old. She lost her mother when she was very young, and it’s pretty obvious from the beginning of the book that her mother suffered from depression. Jude is still struggling with this loss. She wants to become an actress; her mother was a very creative, lively person, and Jude has dreams of living out the glamorous life her mother wished for. But, her father has other ideas. He’s in denial, and really wants Jude to stay close.

When an old friend, Stella, reappears in Jude’s life, everything begins to look up. Stella helps Jude become more outgoing and changes her image. Not all of this is positive, because her new image includes drinking and smoking and staying out late, but also an increase in confidence and a more outgoing personality.

Jude is very excited when she is offered an audition at a prestigious acting school, and Stella goes along for support. But… things are just falling apart. The audition is a disaster, Stella begins to dominate Jude, and Jude becomes uncomfortable with her presence. But, how to get rid of her?

Nadin does a great job with the writing; the descriptions are vivid. The characters have distinct personalities (even though Jude is purposefully devoid of personality.) I enjoyed the story; the pace was good. I never felt bored, but because of my suspicions, I had this attitude about “just get to the end.” The book is short, so that didn’t take long.

I did have a little problem with the end. I thought it was very abrupt, and not realistic. There was no denial or emotional turmoil. I don’t think that realistically someone in Jude’s position would have calmly looked up the problem on the internet.  It was sort of like “OK. Now I’ve got this all figured out and I know exactly what to do.” I just think Jude would have had a much more difficult time emotionally after the reveal and the book didn’t convey that.

Published by Candlewick, February 22, 2011
208 pages
ARC provided by Banned Book Tours

Rating: 2.5/5

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  1. I really loved this book, but I can see where you're coming from. Nadin definitely is a talented writer though :) Great review.

  2. Finally got to read your review...just finished the book. Feel just about the same way. I called it early on. Thank you SO much for reading!



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