We all know the story: a little girl follows a rabbit down a hole and ends up in a magical world. As a kid, I was always kind of scared of Alice in Wonderland. I was as logical a five-year old as it was possible to be, and the idea of a world where logic was literally turned on its head made me incredibly anxious. As I’ve grown up, I’ve become slightly more accepting of chaos: I think it’s healthy to welcome a bit of madness into our lives. It certainly makes things more interesting, doesn’t it?
Alice is one of the most beloved characters in children’s lit, with movies, TV shows, comics, and novels based on her adventures. Not to mention fanfic, some pretty awesome tribute tattoos, fan art…basically, the world loves Alice. Our favorite curious blonde turns 150 today (looks pretty good for her age, doesn’t she?), so you obviously need to celebrate her (un)birthday! After you reread the original, have some fun exploring great retellings, too. Here are six YA versions we love.
The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor
This retelling is a personal favorite of mine, featuring a very cool version of the Mad Hatter. In this version, Alyss is a princess in Wonderland who’s been chased into England by her aunt Red, and needs the help of her trusty guard, Hatter, to get her home and fight Red for the throne.
Splintered, by A.G. Howard
Alyssa is from a long line of crazy women, leading back to the original inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, Alice Liddell. Alyssa tries to hide her madness, until she finds out Wonderland is actually a real, and very dangerous, place. Now Alyssa has to face her family’s past and fix Alice’s mistakes if she wants to save herself.
The Crown, by Colleen Oakes
One day Dinah will be the Queen of Hearts, but for now the realm is ruled by her cruel father. She spends her days with her mad but beloved brother (any guesses who that is?) and her love Wardley, who will one day be the Knave of Hearts. But when a stranger shows up, everything in Dinah’s world starts to fall apart, and she has to solve the mysteries of her kingdom.
Insanity, by Cameron Jace
Alice is really, truly mad. She’s killed all of her classmates and is now locked up in an insane asylum, where the only person who believes her is a hookah-smoking professor who’s convinced she’s Alice. As in, the Alice of Wonderland. And he thinks she’s the only one who can stop the Wonderland monsters who’ve invaded the “real” world, including the Cheshire Cat.
Death of the Mad Hatter, by Sarah J. Pepper
This is an awesome retelling starring Alice Mae Liddell and a boy named Ryley who holds the fate of Wonderland in his hands. The story hinges on a prophesy, and the two must come together to save Wonderland. Just ignore the spoiler in the title!
Hatter, by Daniel Coleman
Ever wonder why the Mad Hatter is so mad? Coleman finally gives us a backstory for our favorite crazy hatter. In a story told alternately between Hatter and the soldier Chism, we get to meet famous characters like the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts from Hatter’s point of view—and even better, we get to see him save Wonderland!