Whenever I have explained Heartshire High to my friends one of the first things I tell them is that the book is a modern retelling of Alice in Wonderland. However, more and more people have been asking me if they should read it even if they haven’t read the classic.
Of course, my first thought was yes! Heartshire High is based off of Alice in Wonderland, but the story still has its own plot. As I thought about it, I wondered if not having read the classic would affect people’s experiences with reading the book. It is true that a big part of what makes Heartshire High special, I hope, is the constant references and Easter eggs that are planted throughout it relating to the classic.
(If you’re looking for these, here are a few to get you started. Did you notice “Celia” is an anagram for “Alice”? Did you notice that the book titles and chapters directly correspond to the chapters in Alice in Wonderland? I think you’ll notice each character, if you look deeply, has a mirror character in Alice. Take Pilar, whose name certainly sounds a lot like “caterpillar”, and who Celia meets in the woods, asking frustrating questions and peddling little bites that can make a girl grow bigger and smaller. Or Red, the queen of the school, who once knocked the head right off a statue of a boy she didn’t like—kind of makes you think of the Queen of Hearts, doesn’t it?)
However, in the end, not having read Alice in Wonderland should not be a reason for not picking up the book; it is still its own story. And for the people who have, I hope you enjoy seeing Alice’s story come alive again, in a modern setting, and you enjoy finding all the inside jokes and references I’ve thrown in for Alice-lovers.
I'm a high school senior who loves to read, write, read about writing, and write about reading. My first novel, Heartshire High, is out now!