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Wonderland by Joanna Nadin


by Joanna Nadin

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Honestly, who wouldn't be able figure out what was going on in this book 20 pages in? It's a shame it was so obvious, as the book was quite good otherwise. ( )
  pidgeon92 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

Jude has always tried to be invisible. Ever since her best friend, Stella, left, Jude tries to avoid any confrontation. Then her drama teacher announces that Jude should apply to the prestigious drama school, the Lab, in London. In the meantime, Jude gets noticed at her current school, and mocked by the cool girls. Drama is the only thing Stella feels she is any good at.

Then, out of nowhere, Stella returns. Stella is everything Jude is not. She's outgoing, she's cool, and she is able to stand up to the girls who taunt her. And she catches the eye of the popular boys. Stella immediately encourages Jude to buy some new clothes, to start talking to the boys, and begin partying with the other kids.

But things are not all perfect. Life with her father is strained. Her mother died when Jude was younger. She keeps her other childhood friend, Ed, at arms' length. But Jude manages to snag an audition at the Lab, and Stella and Jude head into London for the day.

At this point, I can't really elaborate more on what happens in the story because I have to admit, I was quite surprised with the plot twist that occurs. I so didn't see it coming! Jude and her father have some words, and Jude makes a startling realization that brings about some changes and understanding of herself.

WONDERLAND is a heavy story, and may not be for everyone. But it's an insightful look at one's own situation and how they can change themselves to be what they are meant to be. Originally released in the United Kingdom in 2009, the reader will definitely notice the British feel of the story. Some of the slang may be foreign, but overall, the story is easy to follow and conveys the strong moral of being true to oneself.

***Note: There are some sexual situations in this novel that may not be appropriate for younger readers. ( )
  GeniusJen | Aug 5, 2011 |
I just want to start out by saying that WONDERLAND blew me away. Joanna Nadin‘s writing is flawlessly constructed, the words beautifully pieced together to create a story and a voice that is not only ridiculously readable but impossible to look away from.

That said, WONDERLAND will throw you for a loop. It’s a quiet beach town on the coast of England where most of the townies are poor and where those who aren’t are boarders at the fancy school where Jude is bullied relentlessly by a group of girls that she and her best guy friend, Ed, call “The Plastics.” Jude can’t seem to escape her tortured feelings — both from the bullying and the grief of losing her mom years ago. That’s when Stella walks back into her life. Stella was Jude’s best friend when they were younger. Stella was brave and bold, stood up to the mean girls, dared Jude to do things she’d never do. Jude’s dad said Stella was a bad influence, and even if Jude knew she was right, she wanted to be Stella.

With an audition at a prestigious London theatre program on the horizon, Jude is more desperate than ever to change herself, and start anew. She knows there can’t be room in her life for both wild Stella and sweet Ed, and she finds herself torn between her two selves — the person she’s always been with Ed and the person she is trying to be with Stella. It’s not long before Jude knows that she’s in too deep, though, to back away from Stella’s influence. And as with any toxic relationship, there will be consequences whether she stays or goes.

WONDERLAND is unputdownable, a book that keeps you guessing from page one and only reveals its secrets at the very end, just in time for you to close the book and take a deep breath. I absolutely loved every minute of reading WONDERLAND, and am so impressed by Nadin‘s ability to capture the instability of teenage girlhood, of first love, of self-discovery. This is a fast-paced, beautiful novel that is sure to be a hit with fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Elizabeth Scott. ( )
  EKAnderson | May 9, 2011 |
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For those of us who have lived in the shadow of others.
With thanks to Avril Whitehouse, without whom this book would never have come into the light.
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Be yourself, they say.
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Sixteen-year-old Jude hopes to finally become who she wants to be, away from tiny Churchtown and the father who cannot get over her mother's death, by joining a prestigious drama program in London until Stella, her wild childhood friend, returns and causes Jude to wonder if she really wants to be the center of attention, after all.… (more)

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