Cover Image: Wonderland

Wonderland

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This may be my new favourite Alice In Wonderland reimagining ever. This book was dark and gritty and a mental health trip where you call feel yourself falling down the rabbit hole with Alice. With a super diverse cast, an intriguing mystery and storytelling style to kill for, this is without a doubt my favourite of Juno's books.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

At first I wasn't sure about this novel - the 'Alice in Wonderland" references seemed a bit shoe-horned in and clunky. But the narrative drives through to an interesting conclusion, and the fact that the protagonist is trans makes it worthwhile in itself as sorely-needed representation. The emphasis on mental health and finding yourself was also very sensitively done. I've not read any of Dawson's other books but this has made me want to read more.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderland felt like a wild, drug infused haze, full of high society drama and eccentricities. It felt like Gossip Girl meets Heathers, with Juno’s signature level of depth and empathy. No author takes high society party girls and gives them such multifaceted dimension, weaving in topics of mental health and gender identity, quite like Juno does.

Wonderland was so raw, never shying away from tough topics. I really appreciated the honesty that Dawson brings to the character of Alice in terms of her gender identity. Alice is a young transwoman attending an all-girls school where no one knows her past history. She grapples with the anxiety over being ‘outed’ and how her peers would react to the knowledge of her being trans, and throughout the book we do see different characters learn this and how they react to it.

Something that I’ve not seen before in YA, yet feel is incredibly important, is how Juno treats Alice in such a sex positive light. Alice is a sex positive character, looking for sexual experiences with both men and women, and has not yet had bottom surgery – she’s very nervous about how this will be perceived, yet throughout the book Alice learns that she does not need to physically change her body in order to be a sexy, beautiful woman, yet the topic of fetishisation was touched on in a very poignant way. To read the perspective of a young trans woman embarking on sexual exploits with different people, and to not feel the need to conform to a stereotypically ‘female’ body type is wonderful and I hope will be meaningful and eye-opening to a lot of young people who pick up this novel. I don’t want to speak on the accuracy of this representation, but it is Own Voices.

Alice and other characters spend most of Wonderland in a alcohol and drug fuelled haze, which gives such a whimsical feel to the story – complete with larger than life plots which feel reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars, Dawson has woven a unique take on tropes I love to see in TV. This is what Juno does so well every time – raw, high class, elegant, dangerous drama but with more depth and sensitivity that I’ve seen anywhere else. This is the Alice and Wonderland retelling that every modern teen needs in their life. Wonderland is my third Juno Dawson book, and I can’t wait to read more from her!

TW: attempted rape, drug use, overdose, death, suicide, sexual assault, self-harm, arson, grief, fetishisation, transphobia.
Was this review helpful?
Juno Dawson honestly can't do any wrong. Once again, she brings forward a character who is so likeable yet tough, and has so much depth to her. I really enjoyed following Alice through her time in Wonderland (the part takes place over a long weekend so the pacing of the novel is fast which I also liked) and her thought process around different things. All of Alice's fears and then the joys she takes by plunging over the edge were all so sharp and kept me gripped to the end.

There was also some fun mentions and cameos of other characters from other Juno Dawson's books in this one. Lexi from Clean is mentioned a few times, as Alice's school crowd ran with her or knew of her, and Felicity from Margot & Me is actually Alice's therapist which was a small scene but it was SO lovely seeing Felicity again!

Alice is a transwoman, and is pansexual in this book, and I really loved seeing this representation and how Alice talked about her gender identity, and the ups and downs she's had to go through and then also her slow realisation on her sexuality and realising she is also pan. She has sexual relationships with both men and women in this book, and we love to see it! There were some real discussions about the daily upkeeps and things trans girls have to think about when they have transitioned but haven't had an operation such as tucking and I haven't seen that I a book before.

I also loved how accepting everyone was and really do think and hope that the way most people react when Alice confirms she's trans, is how people will continue to react in the future and it won't actually be a real deal. And Alice's realisation that she can meet people who are attracted to her and the genitalia she has, or doesn't have, doesn't actually make a difference to the desire and the sexual relationship she can have with people.

There was one small chapter in this book which was a bathroom scene, and a list of questions Alice was asked about her trans identity and it was so much but also so enlightening. It was exhausting to read and I really wish people, certain people who shall remain nameless, could read such a chapter and realise the type of questions the trans community deal with on a daily basis when all they want to do is urinate in peace.

The Alice in Wonderland references and connections in this book are very in your face but I really liked it, and it was just a fun thing throughout the book. And even though the connections were really obvious, I still felt clever when I connected them up with the classic tale.

I really felt like Alice had a lot of growth in herself and her confidence in her own identity and continuing to travel the world as a proud, beautiful woman and not being afraid to step up and be seen.

Juno Dawson's books are YA but are aimed at mature teenagers rather than 13/14 year olds and I love that. I really feel like Juno understands the teenagers who are reading her books and created characters that while are going through so much, can be really relatable and are good people. She knows that teenagers will understand and be able to handle the darker parts of her stories and doesn't condescend or try and cocoon them in fluff and bubble wrap like precious beings that could break at the slightest mention of a penis or popping pills.

Juno Dawson remains one of my favourite writers and I CANNOT recommend her books enough.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderland was one of the wildest books I’ve ever read and I loved it. With our main character Alice, we are brought on a journey to Wonderland- a annual party held by very, VERY rich teenagers- while she desperately searchers for her friend Bunny. Of course being an Alice in Wonderland Retelling- EVERYTHING IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.

Not to be punny but this book truly was wonderful. Now not the sunshine and rainbows type because believe me this was dark read. However, the twist and turns had my head spinning and I love that quality in a book. The plot was so entertaining. I worried because it’s set mostly during the party, that it would get boring but believe me, if anything it got more exciting as the book continued. 

Alice was such a messy, unreliable narrator and I LOVED HER SO MUCH. Due to most of the plot surrounding Alice I can’t say much without spoiling. However let me leave you with one of my favourite Alice quotes.

“Why any girl would bestow the gift of her vagina to those oafs is quite the enigma.” 

In addition to Alice, the side characters were so developed. Juno Dawson’s writing truly is phenomenal and I adore how they link in to the original Alice in Wonderland. Especially the mad hatter and Cat. 

Alice has money and all of the characters in this book are filthy rich; Wonderland not only explores Alice’s illness and desperate search for Bunny, but it explores privilege- especially the rich and how they get away with everything. Alice is ready to take on the elite? Are you ready to see who comes out victorious?

I will admit the reason this isn’t five stars was the ending. It just wasn’t concluded as good as I expected. The rest of the book was amazing; I felt the ending then let it down. I still highly recommend. Especially if you’re looking for a YA that focuses on the things teens do- exploring their sexuality, drugs, alcohol - that most YA tend to run from, or if you’re in the mood for a unique retelling. 

I would also like to point out that even through Wonderland is part of series it can be read as a stand alone.
Was this review helpful?
I believe Juno Dawson never writes a bad book - great characters and fabulous themes. This one was more exotic than her others but as usual it doesn’t disaapoint
Was this review helpful?
TW: attempted rape, drug use, overdose, death, suicide, sexual assault, self-harm, arson, grief, transphobia

This book just proved, yet again, that Dawson is a force to be reckoned with in YA. 

Dawson never fails to tackle tough and demanding issues in an honest and raw way, acknowledging what teenagers of today are facing. She is unflinching in her honesty, offering an insightful interrogation of society. Wonderland is no different in this sense with a gritty and trippy dissection of mental health, sexuality, gender, privilege, trauma and corruption. 

I really liked Alice as a protagonist; she was insightful, clever and flawed. However, she was able to grow and find out more of who she was, which made her hat much more three-dimensional and interesting. Likewise, the rest of the characters felt fleshed-out, though through a hazy mist, as you never got that close to most of them. To me, this shows how their bubble of privilege isolated them from both Alice and the reader, making them unable to face consequences for their actions in their upper echelons of silence and mutual secrets.

Wonderland is yet another phenomenal book that just cements Dawson’s status as a superstar of YA.
Was this review helpful?
Is there anything Juno can't do? Wonderland is just as edgy, as the previous two books in her "trilogy", but has a real heart to it. It's always a cause to celebrate when there is a new Juno Dawson book, and this one is her best yet! And that's saying something because I ADORED Meat Market!
Was this review helpful?
Alice lives a pretty privileged life, but when her friend Bunny goes missing and she goes looking for her at an exclusive party, she comes face to face with the real elite. Those who who do what they want, to whoever they want - no consequences. Alice has her own secrets to keep but visiting Wonderland might expose everything. 
So I've never read Alice in Wonderland (I tried, didn't like it) but I know enough references to appreciate them in this book. This is such a Juno Dawson book - it's full of sass and smarts, it's dark and slick. Juno can certainly capture a mood with scathing accuracy. Tackling class, privilege, mental health and gender, this is a real ride and I was hooked from the beginning.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderland is a fun, colourful, and emotional ride into the London teen elite.
Elements from Carroll’s classic work are intertwined in the narrative and journey of Dawson’s Alice. 
Wonderland contains a vast array of characters, all struggling with their own inner demons, no matter how popular or put together they seem on the outside. The book tackles many subjects that especially effects young adults, bringing light to drug use, sexual assault, depression, suicide and more. These were all dealt with very well.
For me, I struggled to connect with the characters, but I think this is a solid YA read that will be a favourite for many readers.
Was this review helpful?
I think I loved Wonderland even more than I did Clean and that is saying something! It was just so bizarre - who has ever heard of a party like that?!? And I was being surprised at every turn! As soon as I thought I had got to grips with how all the characters related another massive reveal was unleashed! 

I am also so excited that Clean, Meat Market and Wonderland are now the London Trilogy. I started Meat Market around two minutes after I finished Wonderland - I just need more Juno! I can only imagine how amazing the TV show is going to be. 

Thank you for the review copy!
Was this review helpful?
I love Juno Dawson's books and this was no exception.  A fantastic modern re-telling of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland with a thriller/mystery twist.  I devoured it in one sitting.  The characters were all so believable as individuals, not just as their Alice in Wonderland mirror images, and the relationships between them all came across as as fraught and explosive as those between real teens (minus the murderous intent of course!)  The clever use of allusion to Carroll's original characters in each of Dawson's own was subtle yet recognisable, plus the chapter headings were instantly recognisable to those who've read the original.  Dawson was able to create the same kind of weirdness and off-balance feelings in her title as was present in the original too, albeit through different means and in different forms.  

I loved the main character, who is trans, but she is so much more than that, which is what make Alice come across as more believable and well-rounded than other similar characters in other works.  It is a fantastic piece of writing for YA (definitely YA!).
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. Couldn't put it down. So clever the way Juno Dawson took Alice in Wonderland and moulded it into this thriller set amongst the world of the young elite.  Five stars!
Was this review helpful?
A brilliant retelling of Alice in Wonderland in high society London. I loved Alice’s backstory and the characters who popped up from Juno’s other books.
Was this review helpful?
Bea spent too long watching Go Jetters on iPlayer this afternoon while I was engrossed in my pre-ordered #Wonderland. We've been reading an edited 'Alice...' at bedtime (Tony Ross, also bril) & I love how @junodawson has tweaked the story so cleverly. Brilliant #UKYA (upper end) https://t.co/48w4gFyqvd
Was this review helpful?
Juno Dawson is the queen of YA for a reason. Her books are both fresh and raw. Wonderland is no different. A modern take on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale,  Wonderland is a darkly addictive tale set in the same universe as Juno’s previous novels. A dark thriller which will leave you on the edge of your seat, Wonderland a wonderfully dark story with fun nods to a classic children’s story.
Was this review helpful?
Well this really was a wild ride into Wonderland. This Alice in Wonderland retelling is not for the faint-hearted and this definitely contains care warnings for Self harm, suicide, mental health, sexual assault and drug use. But this book fearlessly tackles issues facing young people today head on and its cast of characters is like no other. If you love books with diverse characters and not your cookie cutter YA contemporary characters then this one is definitely for you. 



I really found Alice intriguing as a main character and I think there is nothing better for an author to make me intrigued by their main character. She is a unique individual and fits the bill of unreliable narrator. She seems like she is snarky and wants to be unlikable but really she is going through a hell of a lot of things as well as just those issues facing every single teenage girl in the world and so it is impossible not to fall in love with her. As a teacher I felt very protective over her but as a reader I loved the adventures that she went on. I feel like I still don't fully know her as a person and I quite like that to be honest. 



I mentioned that this book contains drug use and it is that drug use that over exaggerates this particular Wonderland. I feel like this author sat down and thought, well what if Alice had a crush on the white rabbit and that's why she followed them, what if there was group sex in wonderland, where do Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee land on the spectrum of sexuality? I am just amazed by this world that Juno Dawson has built. 



Not every escapade and every drug fueled party was for me but boy could I appreciate the intricacies of the storytelling and the weaving of the plot and if you want to read something really different and completely daring then this book is for you.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderland is a riot of hedonism, mental health issues and privileged people trying to keep their positions of power. It’s bonkers, and at times reads like we’re following someone on a bad trip. I felt myself pausing for breath at times to gauge whether people could ever be as awful as they are here...and I think they probably can.
In Wonderland Juno Dawson takes us on a journey with Alice, a transgender girl who becomes worried when a friend of hers (Bunny, no less) goes missing. At her exclusive school, nobody seems concerned. So when Alice finds an invitation to an exclusive weekend party she decides to attend in the hope that she can learn the truth of Bunny’s disappearance.
As we follow Alice through her Wonderland experience we have so many of the characters you’d expect - transported to their contemporary rich clique. Alice finds herself having a number of exciting new experiences, but there’s a clear dark undercurrent that threatens to consume her. The very real threat she is under is presented in an almost cruelly casual way. Someone wants Alice out of the way...but how far are they prepared to go?
When we learn of Alice’s mental health issues, knowing she is without her medication means I was never quite sure what was happening and what Alice was imagining. The ending brought a number of strands to a head, but didn’t really resolve much for Alice. 
Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this before publication.
Was this review helpful?
Juno Dawson is a very popular author in my Library and after this new release, that will not be changing anytime soon. A fantastic take on a classic tale!
Was this review helpful?
I love Juno's work, and I am a big Alice in Wonderland fan. So, this retelling of the classic was right up my alley. The characterisations of the well known characters from the story are really interesting.

It does come with a few very strong trigger warnings (drug use and abuse, transphobia, rape and sexual assault, violence, suicide, self harm. Those are just a few.)

I love the trans rep in the book, though. This is something we sorely need more of in YA fiction, and I love how it was written and dealt with in this book. Reading about Alice's joy at finally being able to express who she is is heartwarming. However, some of the treatment Alice gets in this book due to her gender is not quite as happy reading. 

I really enjoyed this, though I personally found it the weaker of the three in this series.
Was this review helpful?