Some Kind of Wonderland by Tara St. Pierre: Book Review // A trip to the land of melancholy

Title: Some Kind of Wonderland
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Standalone
Genre:  Contemporary, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 175 pages, Ebook
Published: June 10th 2021
Source: I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger warning: Divorce

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Sometimes we all need an escape down a rabbit hole.

Since her parents’ divorce, Allyson’s only source of comfort and refuge has been within the pages of Alice in Wonderland, which her father used to read to her every night. Now a quiet and shy teenager, she auditions for her school’s production of the story, despite having no previous acting experience. But no one knows Alice like she does—she’s memorized every word—and she believes that getting the part is the only way her father will return for her.

Instead, she is enlisted as an assistant to the stage manager, and she runs afoul of the drama queen cast in the role she desires. Shuffling between a full deck of actors, a fidgety time-obsessed director, and an over-caffeinated costume crew, can Allyson navigate the bizarre world of high school theater? And how will her mother feel when she finds out it’s that story?

As fiction merges with fact and her present reality uncovers past memories, what curious things will Allyson discover—and how much will she grow—along the journey through her own kind of Wonderland?


Some Kind of Wonderland was such a good read. Allyson has always been daddy’s girl, but after her parent’s divorce, her father moved far away after remarrying. Allyson’s refuge has always been Alice in Wonderland, of which she shared special memories with her father since it was always her go-to bedtime story as a kid.

When her school announces the drama of Alice in Wonderland, she tries out for the main character in the hopes of bagging the role so that her father would finally come to visit her. Luck doesn’t seem to be on her side since she ends up as a production assistant rather than the main role. Allyson’s character development was one of the aspects I really liked. She develops from a shy girl to someone learning to take opportunities. She tries to be an understudy in hopes of getting the chance to play Alice, a character she has really immersed herself into.

Her desperation and longing for her father broke my heart. She missed the hell out of him and just wanted a chance to see him again. She also matured throughout the book. Her belief about her father coming to her show if she only plays Alice to understanding what she is currently missing out on. It was heartbreaking when she finally realised the relationship with her father was never going to the same again.

Since this book narrates Allyson’s point of view, I was also wary of her mother initially. She had never been close with her mother and after the divorce, she had somewhat distanced herself. I would have loved it if the mother-daughter relationship was given more focus, but both of them trying to understand each other better was portrayed beautifully.

The story alternates between the past and present; however, the flow was seamless. I actually liked how the past was incorporated in each chapter as it gave a little more detail about the character’s past and didn’t feel like an info dump. Overall, I loved taking this journey with Allyson, which was full of friendship and family values.

You can also check out my reviews for the author’s previous books- Just a Few Inches and Mirror Me!

Recommend it?

Yes.


So guys, what do you think about this book? Have you read it yet?

Review: Mirror Me by Tara St. Pierre || Creepy and intriguing

Title: Mirror Me
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Standalone
Genre:  Paranormal, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 208 pages, Ebook
Published: July 25th, 2017
Source: I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:

 

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Hannah McCauley doesn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore.

After a rebellious past, she now attends a strict private school in a new town, where her recently divorced mother has put her on social lockdown. No driving. No bad grades. No skipping classes. No unapproved friends. No makeup. No boys. And the subject of her best friend from her old school is definitely forbidden.

Hannah is being punished for something that happened a year earlier, something that she would like to put behind her. But strange occurrences frighten her, and she’s accused of breaking rules and doing other terrible things without any recollection of them. No one believes her, so she starts distrusting everything, even her own reflection.

Is she being haunted by her past? Stalked by someone with a grudge? Or is it all in her head? If she doesn’t figure out what’s happening fast, her existence could end up irreparably shattered.


I had read the author’s debut novel, Just a Few Inches (you can read my review here) and absolutely fell in love with it, so when she asked me to review her 2nd book, I jumped at the opportunity. Although this book didn’t manage to wow me, it was still an enjoyable and a creepy read and like her first book, a moral to understand and learn for ourselves.

After a particular incident that totally changed Hannah’s life, her mother doesn’t trust her and neither does she trust herself anymore. But soon strange things start happening which is out of her control. She can’t remember things and she is afraid to look into her mirror. When all hell breaks loose, will Hannah be able to save herself in time or will she be lost forever?

The plot was pretty intriguing and the mystery aspect was maintained well throughout the book. Hannah is being punished by her mother she committed a year ago, she has her on high alert and even little things make her mother angry. She, herself can’t get over the past incident due to which she had to change school and completely change herself. As we read the book, we get glimpses of Hannah’s past from which we can understand that she was a completely different and notorious person from whom she is now. Although the author kept referring to the “past incident” throughout the entire book, it isn’t until the very end that the actual truth is revealed, so that was a bit repetitive indeed.

What intrigued me the most was when the strange things begin happening to her. She would wake up and find her things placed in different spots than she did last time and not remembering specific incidents. It was obvious that there was definitely something to do with the mirror and hence the title. This book definitely had its creepy moments and I was really concerned for her but as the story proceeded, it didn’t take much time for me to solve the riddle about why everything was going on which did dampen my enthusiasm a little, making it a bit predictable but it was still a fun read.

I enjoyed the other minor characters and the parts they had to play. Although Grace came up as a little bit too stuck up at first but when Hannah needed her help, she was there, though it did feel a little weird how everybody accepted the situation so easily. I wanted more of Cole which unfortunately Hannah didn’t get much either but he was a sweet character! On the other hand, I seriously didn’t like her mother, I knew she had to face things because of her but she didn’t try to understand her or cut her some slack but I did enjoy how everything wrapped up in the end.

Overall, Mirror Me was an interesting read. The plot could have been a little more fleshed out but it was executed neatly. The writing was beautiful and smooth and the pace was even throughout the book. I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Recommend it?

Yes.


So guys, what are your thoughts on this book?

Review: Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre || Plus a fun Character Interview with a Giveaway!

Author: Tara St. Pierre

Tittle: Just a Few Inches

Standalone

Genre: Contemporary, [Young-Adult]

Heat Rating: Cool

Page Count and Format: 226 pages, Ebook

Published: June 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: PicsArt_1444558321867


Blurb (from Goodreads):

All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.

To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.

Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.

Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems— problems that are growing more terrifying every day.

Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.


PicsArt_1443945753901

When I finished reading Just a Few Inches, all I could utter was wow. It was an incredible, heartwarming story that handled all the issues of body image, self-esteem, and teenage relationships with delicacy and perfection.

Carrie Roberts is a high school cheerleader and she wants to loose just a few inches to fit into a perfectly red dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance to impress her boyfriend and to keep his ex-girlfriend at bay. Only a few days are left for the dance when she gets the dress, so when she sees a tv commercial about losing a few inches in just a few days, she grabs the opportunity. However, seeing as the medicines are not working, she grabs a few extra pills and the next day she’s able to wear the dress to the dance. But then the problem starts, she realises she is not only still loosing her weight but her height is shrinking as well!

The blurb intrigued me a lot, I’ve never read a story like this before so I definitely wanted to give this one a try. The plot was definitely unique and it was executed really well. Carrie starts shrinking when she takes a few more pills than the given dosage, due to her insecurities. I was on edge throughout the book because she was shrinking shorter and shorter and nobody could do anything to help although the doctors were trying their best. I was genuinely scared for her. Though she embarked on quite a few adventures which were a bit hilarious and suspenseful at the same time.

Though Carrie is not someone who is fat or chubby, her weight is average to that of her height, I could relate to her a lot. I suffer from weight issues as well and like Carrie I also want to loose just a few inches as well. There are countless number of times that I’ve thought to take pills like these because there are enough tv commercials like the one Carrie saw. Thankfully, I didn’t ever take that step (and now I’m pretty much scared for life! 😛 ). Nonetheless, all the body related issues in this book were handled sensitively and positively.

Now, the characters, each and every one of them were uniquely portrayed and I absolutely loved the character development. Carrie was a fantastic protagonist. Although she gives in to her insecurities at the beginning of the novel, throughout the book she understands the value of her life, her body and the people who stood by her side throughout the whole ordeal. Although she was afraid yet she was so strong, given her situation. I truly admired her character. Family played such an important role in this book, I especially loved Carrie’s mom. It’s so rare we come across an actual functioning family in YA novels, that’s why it was pretty refreshing to read about it.

I absolutely loved Trish and Lauren, Carrie’s two best friends, especially Trish. They were not the clichéd cheerleaders, they stood by her side, never once judging her. Lauren did judge her a little bit but she was the one who told her not to take the pills as well. These two were completely different but I loved them so much. Evan was such a sweetheart. I could understand from the beginning that him and Carrie would be perfect together. Although their relationship did feel a little bit rushed but I adored them nonetheless. Even Janelle, Carrie’s rival went through character growth and it was so heartwarming, I actually cried a little bit.

Overall, Just a Few Inches was a fantastic read. The plot was unique and it was executed neatly. The characters were pretty great and I absolutely loved the character development. The writing was simple and beautiful and the pace was even throughout the book. I’m so glad I read this book otherwise I would have missed out on a lot.

Recommend it?

Absolutely! Everybody should give this book a try!


Character Interview

Now, here comes the fun part- Enjoy the character interview with Carrie, the protagonist of Just a Few Inches. It was my first time doing a character interview and I really enjoyed it a lot!

It’s finally nice to meet you Carrie! Your situation was unlike anything I have ever read. But I am truly inspired by you and your story.

Thank you for having me on your blog, Poulami, and thank you for the kind words. It’s still incredible to me that people have been inspired by the really strange transformation I went through.

1. So first of all, I know a lot of people have already asked this question but I would still like to know that how did you cope with everything while you were continuously shrinking as each day passed?

Sometimes I ask myself that same question. I measured myself against my bedroom wall every morning, and every morning, I was shorter than the mark I had made the day before. It would have been easy to get depressed about it, and there were days that I definitely felt that way. But I kept trying to believe that it had to stop eventually. A person couldn’t shrink to the size of a fashion doll, right? It was the support of family and friends, and even of perfect strangers who followed me on social media and shared some of their own stories, that kept me always looking up—both figuratively and literally.

2. What scared you the most during those months?

As I got smaller, I lost the ability to drive my car. My clothes no longer fit so I had to wear my two younger sisters’ clothes. I couldn’t reach things or lift things; everyday objects went from inconvenient to use, to difficult to use, and some impossible to use. These were only minor nuisances compared to the fear that I’d continue to shrink until I couldn’t be found. Even now, I still shudder at the few nightmares I had about disappearing altogether.

3. Okay, now I am going to digress to some different kind of questions. You ready for that? So I would like to know who do you admire the most?

My mother. For the first half of my life, she was a single mom. She had me shortly after high school, and she sacrificed a college education to raise me. Throughout the time I was shrinking, she was my rock. She often called me brave for having to go through what I went through, but I think she’s the brave one watching it happen to her first-born daughter. She never lost hope, even when it looked hopeless. She once told me that parents usually only get one chance to watch their children grow, but she was going to get a second chance after I stopped shrinking. She always believed I’d be cure.

4. What do you value the most in your friends?

Unconditional support and acceptance. I think of my best friend Trish who always stood up for me. When I first noticed my condition and tried to hide it—even though that wasn’t the smartest thing to do—Trish supported me. When I couldn’t lift her any longer in our cheering routine, she willingly changed places with me. Even when she got a little too wrapped up in my celebrity status (which I still don’t fully understand why I became a so-called celebrity), I never doubted her heart was in the right place.

5. What trait do you deplore the most in yourself and others?

Unnecessary insecurity—and not just because it was what got me into my whole shrinking situation to begin with. I understand that we all sometimes doubt ourselves before a test, before a big game or performance, or before a college or job interview. I think that little bit of anxiety can be a healthy motivator. But we don’t need that kind of anxiety or insecurity when it comes to who we are. Our bodies are what they are, and while it’s important to stay physically healthy, emotional health starts with accepting the things you can’t change about your body and just love it for whatever size it is.

6. What is the one quality you like the most in a woman?

Confidence. I think of my friend Lauren who always accepted herself for who she was. She had the confidence to cheer because she enjoyed it and not because of the status within the school. She had to confidence to “tell it like it is” to me when I really needed (and didn’t want) to hear it, and for that, I have tremendous respect for her.

7. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Loving yourself and being around people who love you for who you are. I have a great family, and my strange experience actually brought us closer together. I have great friends who always stood by me. And I found a wonderful boyfriend who always knew to look past physical appearances to find my inner beauty—and he helped show me that I had inner beauty. Material things come and go, but the love of friends and family should be forever and provide the best happiness.

8. How do you feel about life right now? Is there anything you want to change?

I’m very happy with my life right now, thanks for asking. Obviously while I was shrinking, the one thing I wanted to change was my height. Well, it was constantly changing, but I wanted that to stop and start changing back to normal. But in the end, I wouldn’t change a thing about what I went through. I learned so much about myself and about who we are as people is so much more important than how we dress or the numbers on a scale or tape measure. You could say that the thing I needed to change was myself.

9. Okay, fun question- if you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

Definitely not a doll. I’ve sort of already been there, done that.

10. Now for the last and final question, I would love to know if you have some message for today’s generation, especially for the people who suffer from various body issues.

Sometimes when we look in the mirror, we have a distorted perception of us— that we’re immense or grotesque. However, when I was at my smallest, my perception of people—all people—was so distorted that everyone was immense. Everyone was statuesque. But most of all, everyone was breathtakingly awesome. The human body is a miraculous thing, no matter what size we are. That’s what I would like people to remember most.


Author Bio:

Tara St. Pierre has been writing for over two decades, but her muse only sporadically provides inspiration. Her laptop is filled with incomplete manuscripts and other plot outlines, and she feels blessed when one finally pushes its way through to completion–no matter how long it takes!

She enjoys classic science fiction movies and television shows. When driving, she sings along with the radio loudly and off key. She prefers tea over coffee, spring over autumn, vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and caramel over hot fudge. Though she lives by herself, one of her two cats enjoys cuddling with her.

Author Links:

Facebook || Twitter

Purchase Link:

Amazon


Giveaway! (INTL)

2 ebook copies of Just a Few Inches

a Rafflecopter giveaway