The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks

Oneworld Pub. Feb. 2023. 352p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780861542079.
Gr 3-7–When a seagull speaks to her on the Welcome Day of her new boarding school after she has embarrassed herself yelling at her grandmother, autistic Alice knows that something is up. This is a conventional British fantasy with all the usual boarding school ingredients. The animals who speak to Alice are a fun factor, but the smarmy headmaster, whose princesslike daughter is Alice’s roommate, plus mean girls and a friend who is an outcast, are routine. Timothy Crossley-Herbert the Third is Black, with family problems he wants to keep hidden. He is also supposedly musical, though that is only something readers are told and never glimpse. Alice’s neurodivergence is most often brought up when she is pressured to conform to neurotypical expectations.
VERDICT Combined with the witchy housemistress, odd teachers, multitude of sweet treats, the variety of creatures who talk to her, and Alice’s gradual discovery of her heritage, this will be great fodder for readers who like their adventures cushioned by wish fulfillment in the boarding school fantasy novel genre.

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