Having always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I was stoked for the spin off TV series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, airing on ABC. Though it has been met with some criticism as well as praise, I have loved watching this new spin on the classic tale. As the show goes into hiatus until the spring, I started thinking, what could I read in the meantime that was similar to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? What YA novels out there are spins on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale? I also thought about how at the beginning of Lewis Carroll’s book Alice states, “…what is the use of a book…without pictures or conversations?” If Alice saw no use in books without pictures or conversations as a child, would her tastes have changed as she grew up and became a teen? What would Alice read?
Of course, I had to start digging. What I came up with is a list of books that Alice may have read as she got older, after her adventures in Wonderland. The novels I found have direct tie-ins to the Alice tale, they are set in the time that Alice lived, or they are about fantastical journeys similar to the one Alice took when she fell down the rabbit hole. Check them out and be sure to add any suggestions you think Alice would enjoy!
Novels similar to Alice in Wonderland
Alice the 19th by YÃ» Watase
In this shojo manga, Alice lives in the shadow of her sister. However, when she rescues a white rabbit she learns that she has a destiny greater that she ever could have imagined.
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Alice survives a zombie attack that killed her family. When she is sent to stay with her grandparents, she is convinced she is going mad because of the monsters she can see but no one else can.
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Alyssa is a descendant of Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. The women in Alyssa’s family always go mad, so to save herself and her mother who is in a sanitarium, Alyssa ventures to Wonderland determined to find a way to stop the madness.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Alyss finds herself in Victorian London and adopted by the Liddells after she flees Wonderland when her evil Aunt murders her parents to takeover the throne and become Queen. As Alyss grows up she tries to repress her memories of Wonderland, but she knows that one day she must return to claim her throne.
Novels set in Alice’s time
Will is an apprentice to Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, a mostrumologist (a scientist who studies monsters), when an outbreak of creatures called Anthropophagi plagues their nineteenth century New England town by savagely killing the townspeople.
The Sommambulist by Jonathan Barnes
Set in Victorian London, this story centers on Edward Moon and his sidekick, known only as Sommambulist, as they try to earn a living as detectives solving the murders and mysteries of London.
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Set in late nineteenth century New York, Lia and Alice are twin sisters who have recently been orphaned. Their problems go farther than that, however, when they discover they are part of a prophecy in which they are set against each other: one wanting to change the world forever and the other to save the world as we know it.
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Nimira has traveled to the country of Lorinar, where fairies have been long at war, to try and make a name for herself. Having a hard time being discovered, Nimira jumps at the chance for a better life and takes a job singing with an automaton. However, she soon learns there’s more to this job that she thought, when she discovers that the automaton is actually a cursed fairy prince who she is determined to save.
Novels about a strange journey
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (2008 Best Books for Young Adults)
Zanna has been experiencing some really strange things lately. It turns out that she is the chosen one (“the Schwazzy”) for UnLondon, the alternate world and mirror image of current day London. Together with her friend Deeba, they travel to UnLondon where Zanna discovers that being the chosen one means she is destined to defeat the Smog, a monster terrorizing UnLondon.
Crap Kingdom by D.C. Pierson
Tom has always felt that he is destined for great things, and so he is not too surprised when he discovers he is the Chosen One of an unnamed kingdom. However, this kingdom is not what Tom expects–it is filled with trash, the people are jerky towards him, and he ends up having to work at the Rat Snottery after he makes a poor impression on the king. So, Tom does whatever it takes to not be the Chosen One.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010 Printz Winner)
Cameron has been diagnosed with mad cow disease; a disease that slowly eats away at the brain. Cameron is determined to live up his final days and beat the disease, so of course he takes off on a road trip to defeat an evil scientist with a cute punk girl who might be an angel and a talking garden gnome.
Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher
Rob’s sister is in a coma and his family is falling apart. Seeking an escape he joins an archeological dig where he discovers a tree that is growing upside down and is a portal to another world where he can reach his sister’s spirit. He takes a risk and travels to the Unworld to rescue his sister from an evil entity who is holding her captive.
–Colleen Seisser, currently reading Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto