For starters, I never got into this book because of some love of Alice in Wonderland. In fact that's not really a story that ever stuck out in my mind from childhood aside from thoughts of how tripped out some of it is. I think most people can agree that the cover attracts a lot of attention but I'm a sucker for a good fantasy adventure. And I went with this one next because it was one of the shorter ones I had in my queue.
My rating seems unfair because I really did like a lot about this book. I liked the characters and most of the interactions. I just found that once I had to shelve it with other books I refer to as those dealing with 'monarch struggles' that I started to lose the fervor I had.
To begin with, Alyssa Gardner is a decedent of the Alice from the Alice in Wonderland story. Her family line is plagued with a series of women who are unfortunately a bit mad (case in point her mom Allison is in an asylum). Alyssa is a very odd girl, she's a punk skater girl who makes artwork out of bugs she catches and kills. She's hopelessly smitten with her nextdoor neighbor and childhood best friend Jeb who sometimes walks the line between white knight and companion. There are a lot of people that don't like Jeb, I really can't see why. He was one of my favorite parts of the story, perhaps because I'm so insanely tired of girl's in stories who drop their best friend's affections for a mysterious stranger. The roles between Alyssa and Jeb are different than the traditional love triangle situation with the best friend in many books. Jeb has a gf and a life, she's the one pining for him. I loved Jeb, I don't care what other people say.
Enter Wonderland and all it's mysteries. And the mysterious stranger, Morpheus who is Alyssa's guide into getting her (and Jeb) into Wonderland. A series of events unfolding correlating to plot points from Alice in Wonderland.
I'm going to be honest. Morpheus is weird. Normally I am all about the mysterious and dangerous stranger because I have a thing for villains. I couldn't like him, not in the way I was supposed to like an alternative love interest. His relationship with Alyssa, while important, felt forced when it came to romance.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I thought it had the right amount of what a good story needed, even if some parts were predictable, there are certainly parts that aren't.