Sarah Review… Alex In Wonderland by Simon James Green

Title: Alex In Wonderland

Author: Simon James Green

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: 6th June 2019

Format: Paperback

About the book:

In the town of Newsands, painfully shy Alex is abandoned by his two best friends for the summer. But he unexpectedly lands a part-time job at Wonderland, a run-down amusement arcade on the seafront, where he gets to know the other teen misfits who work there. Alex starts to come out of his shell, and even starts to develop feelings for co-worker Ben… who, as Alex’s bad luck would have it, has a girlfriend.

Then as debtors close in on Wonderland and mysterious, threatening notes start to appear, Alex and his new friends take it on themselves to save their declining employer. But, like everything in Wonderland, nothing is quite what it seems…

What I Thought:

I’ve been aware of Simon James Green for a while, Noah Can’t Even has been sitting on my bookshelves for some time but when I told Charlotte I was trying to decide on my next YA read and mentioned a couple of books Alex In Wonderland won her vote hands down. 

Alex has just finished his GCSEs and is ready for a summer of fun with his two best friends. One problem, they’ve recently started dating and they’ve not left much room for Alex in their summer plans. Alex manages to stumble into a job at Wonderland, the slightly rundown amusement arcade in Newsands. We follow Alex through his summer, which is not the one he planned but full of adventure none the less!

One of the things I loved most about this book is the way Simon wove together threads of a contemporary love story and some hints of a mystery tale. I enjoy a well written romance but mystery is really my thing so this was just perfect for me. Simon creates a wonderful group of characters who I’ll talk a little more about in a minute but there’s almost certainly at least one character you’ll connect with and see at least part of yourself in. This has the benefit of making you invested in both the love story and the mystery. I was certainly keen to discover who was behind the anonymous notes, and although I guessed right I was still delighted with the outcome!

As promised, onto the characters starting of course with Alex himself! I adored Alex! Im sure any teen that picks this up will see a bit of themselves in Alex, I certainly saw some of my teenage self in him! From the awkwardness of navigating your first steps in the dating world, to the pain of unrequited love. I dare anybody reading this to not want all the best things for Alex by the end of the book! Side note I was so pleased when his dad saw the light at the end!

Efia was one of my favourites! How are we pronouncing this? I’ve been saying f-ee-ah in my head, is that right?! Efia is just so enthusiastic, although I admit that occasionally she makes things a little awkward for Alex she does genuinely have good intentions!

I think I would have loved a friend like Ben as a teenager. It was great following Ben’s journey throughout the book, although I won’t spoil it here. Also I’m all for naming dogs after Star Wars characters! Like dear Artoo Dogtoo! As I finish writing this my goddaughter’s dog Chewie is sitting on my lap demanding tummy rubs.

I thought Lemon Boy (or Caleb) was a great addition and then we have Maggie… I liked the fact that despite the way she portrayed herself she did seems to genuinely care for the teens, especially Alex

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed following Alex through his summer at Wonderland. The story was enjoyable, the characters were great. I must get round to picking up Noah soon!

More Simon James Green on SWB

About The Author

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

Connect With Simon

Website // Twitter // Instagram

Want to buy it?

As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?

5 thoughts on “Sarah Review… Alex In Wonderland by Simon James Green

  1. A Cup of Wonderland

    I’m like you and have never read a Simon James Green novel before I saw him talk at a recent event and instantly picked up Alex in Wonderland as a result. Efia was a favourite of mine too and I loved this book – I love how Simon encompasses the whole awkwardness and questioning which you experience as a teenager – made me laugh a lot myself.


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