William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2015
Young Ada Boyce is a neighbor and friend of Alice Clowd – of Alice in Wonderland fame – Ada’s only friend, in fact. Ada’s mother has given birth to a sickly and fussy boy and she is done with the madness of her home so her governess, Miss Armstrong, seeks to take her on a walk to get her out from underfoot. Ada is impatient to wait for Miss Armstrong and rushes ahead toward Alice’s. Along the way she sees Alice’s sister, Lydia, who is reading under a tree. She asks after Alice and is told she is thereabouts. Ada goes searching for Alice and accidentally tumbles down the same rabbit hole as her friend. She, too ends up in the maddening world that is Wonderland. Her main goal is to find Alice and then find her way home again. The story alternates between the crazy world Ada is experiencing and the craziness and exasperation of Miss Armstrong and Lydia over having lost both their charges.
I was hoping for a really fun fantasy to enjoy but what I read was at times so farfetched and nonsensical as to drive me mad. More than once I thought to put the book down but decided to forge ahead to the end. In fact, I was so desperate to make sure Ada made it safely home I skipped the last couple of chapters of nonsense to read the last one. And I NEVER skip chapters or peek ahead to the end—except in the case of a book that made me as nutty as some of the characters –and not in a good way. To sum it up, I was very disappointed in the book. I really loved Maguire’s Wicked series (except the end of the last book, Out of Oz, the ending was too blasé for my liking) and I loved his children’s series, The Hamlet Chronicles (which was really crazy – crazy in a fun that makes sense, sort of, way). But I didn’t love this one. I didn’t even like it.