by David-Matthew Barnes Published by Bold Strokes Books
on February 5, 2013 Genres: LGBT
, Young Adult Pages:
eBook Source: Blog Tour Goodreads
Nominated for the American Library Association’s 2014 Rainbow Books!
After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician’s assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark. Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux. It’s there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo. When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she’s faced with the most crucial choice of her life.
Today on the blog tour for WONDERLAND by David-Matthew Barnes, I have a review of the book. The tour is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours and you can visit all the stops here. After my review, read on for a tour-wide giveaway.
Do you believe in magic?
That’s one of the integral questions in WONDERLAND. Almost everyone asks Destiny if she believes in magic, from her uncle to her new best friends. And she says she does, which leads her on a fantastical adventure.
Within hours of moving to Avalon Cove, to live with her new guardians after her mother’s death, Destiny meets Tasha. The two immediately hit it off, becoming best friends, and within a few more hours, Destiny has another new friend, Topher, and is on her way to Wonderland. Wonderland is a mysterious place Tasha and Topher insist she visit. But when Destiny sees the decrepit mansion, she wonders if they’re pulling a trick on her.
But they aren’t. For as soon as she steps into Wonderland, Destiny is whisked away to a magical place. It is very reminiscent of Alice falling into the rabbit hole. The mystery behind Wonderland, as well as its inhabitants, is one I’ll leave up to you to find out. That mystery is what kept me reading the book, because at first, I was a little skeptical. But trying to figure out what Wonderland was, and what was going on, kept me interested.
The reason I was skeptical because Destiny, as well as her friends, learn that their true loves are at Wonderland. And then they fall in love immediately after seeing those true loves. Insta-love is not a favorite trope of mine, but here, I set aside my disbelief and went with the story. In the end, I was pleased I did, because I liked how everything came together, how Destiny, Tasha, and Topher found their true loves. I decided to look at it as each character having their soulmate in Wonderland, which worked nicely when I found out the truth.
I also liked that the characters were so accepting and open with each other. Destiny has two gay uncles for guardians. Topher is gay and chased daily by bullies, but Tasha and then Destiny stand up for him. Tasha is bisexual, but prefers women, because “girls are way hotter than boys (p. 9).” Dominic even has two mothers. A little unrealistic? Maybe. But I hope that the acceptance of these characters will help any readers who may have doubts or fears in their own minds.
WONDERLAND is an enjoyable, fast read. I rated it as a “good read” (3 stars by my scale) because I wanted more. Due to the short length, about 260 pages, most of the book is focused on Wonderland and its mysteries. I personally wanted a longer page count, so there could be more character and relationship development. For everyone, from Destiny to her friends to her uncles. The ending was a little quick, too — again, I wanted more. After all the struggle Destiny and the others go through to find their true loves, it would have been nice to spend some time with each couple.
About the author:
David-Matthew Barnes is a filmmaker, novelist, playwright, poet, and teacher.
He is the award-winning author of nine novels including the young adult novels Swimming to Chicago and Wonderland, which were nominated by the American Library Association for their annual Rainbow Books, a list of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and teens. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Comstock Review, and The Southeast Review. He was selected by Kent State University as the national winner of the Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Award. In addition, he’s received the Carrie McCray Literary Award, the Slam Boston Award for Best Play, and earned double awards for poetry and playwriting in the World AIDS Day Writing Contest.
Barnes is also the author of over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and International Thriller Writers.
Barnes’ first film was Frozen Stars, which he wrote and directed while still an undergrad in college. The coming-of-age independent film stars Lana Parrilla of ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
Barnes earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has taught college courses in writing and the arts for the last decade.
He lives in the city of Denver where he serves as the CEO of Fairground CineFilms.