Woods, Brenda. Zoe in Wonderland
August 16th 2016 by Nancy Paulsen Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Zoe Reindeer lives with her family at their business, Doc Reindeer’s Exotic Plant Wonderland. Her older sister, Jade, is an obnoxious teenage cheerleader who does exercises to make her butt bigger, and her brother, Harper, is a math whiz whom her parents seem to favor. Zoe feels that she is "just Zoe", and some of the kids at school pick on her because she is quiet and wears "geek"glasses. She does have a very good friend, Quincy, and the two of them send away for baobab tree seeds so that they can grow one and sell it to a man who works nearby and is trying to find a taste of his native Madagascar in Pasadena. Soon, though, Quincy has to move to be with his father because his mother is being treated for cancer, and Wonderland is in financial trouble. Zoe makes another friend, Quincy's mother responds well to treatment and it seems like he may be moving back, but then tragedy strikes. How will the Reindeer family deal with this blow?
Strengths: I started off liking this, because it had a fairly supportive, intact family and a positive message. It was certainly well written, and kept my attention.
Weaknesses: I wanted to slap Zoe because she had a bad attitude and was vaguely unpleasant. I could have put up with that, but when all the bad things started happening, I lost interest.
What I really think: I'm disappointed because I wanted this to be a happy book I could get my niece, Zoe, for her birthday! I have a lot of this author's work, and it's quite popular. Perhaps this was just too young for my demographic? Don't think I'll purchase, but it's the sort of book that might be successful in certain collections.