Title: The Lost Wonderland Diaries
Author: J. Scott Savage
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Format: Paperback ARC
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Something monstrous wants to exit Wonderland and enter the real world.
Lewis Carroll, author of the classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, secretly recorded the true story of his actual travels to Wonderland in four journals which have been lost to the world . . . until now.
Celia and Tyrus discover the legendary Lost Diaries of Wonderland and fall into a portal that pulls them into the same fantasy world as the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. However, Wonderland has vastly changed. Some of the characters that Tyrus remembers from the book have been transformed into angry monsters.
Helped by the Cheshire Cat and a new character, Sylvan, a young rabbit, Celia and Tyrus desperately work to solve puzzles and riddles, looking for a way out of Wonderland. But the danger increases when the Queen of Hearts begins hunting them, believing the two young visitors hold the key to opening multiple portals to multiple worlds, and she will stop at nothing to capture them.
Will the crazed creatures of Wonderland escape into the real world? Can Celia and Tyrus stop them and save both worlds? Or will they be trapped in Wonderland forever?
Celia is the great-great-great-grandniece of Lewis Carroll. Her mom is a librarian, and they move across the country so her mom can start a new job. Celia has to spend her summer days at her mom’s library, where she meets Tyrus, another new student to the area. After they meet, they find a box in Celia’s mom’s office. They use Tyrus’s imagination and Celia’s logic to open the secret box, which holds Lewis Carroll’s lost diaries. These diaries hold the secrets to opening a portal into Wonderland, which is in dire need of help to get rid of the monsters that have taken over. Celia and Tyrus have to use their unique skills to help save Wonderland.
Celia and Tyrus were both bullied at their previous schools for being different. Celia is dyslexic, and has always felt left out because she can’t learn like her other classmates. Tyrus buries himself in his books, which his classmates never understood. They were both bullied, but through their adventure in Wonderland, they learn that their differences are what make them strong and unique.
I loved the puzzles in this book. The word puzzles were written in the style of Lewis Carroll’s writing, yet they were original. I wasn’t a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, but I loved this story. The puzzles had the same quirky style of Carroll, but without the strange and confusing parts.
One thing that I didn’t like about this story was that it switched between narrative perspectives. The chapters where Celia and Tyrus were in the real world had a first-person narrative from Celia’s perspective. The chapters in Wonderland, which took up most of the book, were narrated by a third-person narrator. There were only one or two chapters that didn’t include Celia, so they could have been changed to be either all first-person or all third-person. I read an advanced copy of this book and this narration style could have been changed in the final copy, so I didn’t hold it against the book in my rating.
This was a fun story! I hope there will be a sequel.
Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Have you read The Lost Wonderland Diaries? What did you think of it?