Continuing our celebration of the 150th Anniversary since Alice in Wonderland was released, Nicki reviews Cathy Cassidy's Wonderland Inspired new book...
Some of the themes familiar from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ take on a nightmarish tone in Cathy Cassidy’s ‘The Looking-Glass Girl,’ written in celebration of 150 years of Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic.
Cathy Cassidy is one of our best-loved authors, cherished for her family stories of friendship and light teen romantic fiction. So it’s a departure and a move into new territory that ‘The Looking-Glass Girl’ takes on a thriller tone right from the start.
Alice has been increasingly isolated since her best-friends from primary have moved into a much ‘cooler’ set at secondary school. So when she gets invited to a sleepover with them she is not sure whether to be pleased or concerned – a feeling many girls of this age will easily relate to.
What does the night have in store? Is there some other motivation for inviting her along? What will they being doing and will she be ‘cool’ and grown-up enough?
From when she arrives at the Wonderland-themed party, everything from costumes and the painted faces of the other guests is unsettling. The drink is served in a teapot that Alice suspects is spiked with alcohol, Alice knows she is out of her depth, but desperate to be included.
She has to tread as carefully as her namesake to work out friend from foe, but it all goes horribly wrong.
We know from the opening of the story Alice will end up in a coma, with everyone lying and covering up exactly what went on.
The tension is cranked up from unexpected arrivals at the party and a few games where Alice feels she is less of a guest, more of bait.
The arrival of a boy Alice likes ratchets up the tension as she can see clearly that one of the other girls likes him too . . .
Taut plotting means the story of what actually happened that night and what is really going on among Alice’s ‘friends’ is revealed only slowly, partly through confessions at her hospital bedside and her nightmarish dreams as she tries to find her way back from unconsciousness to the real world.
Tweens and early teens will love this fresh tale with more than a hint of threat and danger in amongst this tale of friendship and early romance. A total triumph and really true to the original tale, while being really fresh and different.