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Outside Wonderland

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  441 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Alice, Griffin, and Dinah Stenen's mother and father died tragically when they were quite young. The loss haunts them into adulthood. Alice is a stage actress in New York who can't commit to a relationship. When she meets Ian she's smitten, but suspects it's Ian's four-year-old son that really captivates her. Griffin and his longtime partner are settled into a contented do ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published March 1st 2011)
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Dec 28, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I won this book from goodreads.

I didn't dislike this book. It was a quick read and I found the characters to be likable. I especially liked Dinah. I just wish they were developed more. I felt I was often told what they were made of and why they made the choices they made. I would have like to have drawn my own conclusions by making my discoveries from their choices and dialogue. I also thought a few of the outcomes were a bit too picture perfect and predictable. It was charming to have the musin
Jul 04, 2011 Mallory rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: n/a
I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway, and I was reluctant to review it at all because I knew my words would be less than favorable. However, I would also not want to be responsible for someone reading this book on my say-so, and couldn't tell anything but the truth.

And the truth is that this novel is not good. The characters are more like caricatures, loosely defined and with little development. I'm supposed to feel invested in their lives and their pain, but
Dec 01, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the book Outside Wonderland, by Lorna Jane Cook, the three main characters Alice,Griffin and Dinah are all at significant points in their lives. At very young ages, Dinah being only 18 months, their mother passes away suddenly and Alice is left to be the "mother figure" until her grandmother steps in to help. When Dinah is around 8 years old their father also passes away and they are sent to go live with their grandmother. Alice is now older and a beloved actress who cannot make a commitment ...more
Apr 04, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
I won this book on a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book deals with three adults who are living their lives 20 years after their parents died. The eldest, Alice, is an actress who doesn't really care for commitment. The son, Griffin, is a gay man who is at-odds with his partner of 11 years. And the youngest, Dinah, is a woman who is constantly trying to find herself, but knows that she doesn't like to be alone.

I found myself really enjoying this book and the characters in it. They were likable and the
Oct 18, 2013 Derry rated it really liked it
I prefer reading mysteries, but once in awhile I like this type of a story. The characters are interesting and I could relate to one of them in particular. Sad in parts but well written.
Oct 08, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2010 Kayla rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I received this from Goodreads giveaways. I thought this book was a fast, enjoyable read. I found all the characters likable, though I'm not in agreement with the majority of reviewers who felt closest to Dinah. I didn't dislike her, but I liked her least of the three siblings.

The book takes place about twenty years after Alice, Griffin and Dinah lose their parents. The parents look down on their children from heaven and watch as they all try to overcome their fears and struggles in the
Jul 22, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that I really wasn't sure about whether I wanted to finish it throughout the whole thing. It wasn't that the book was terrible by any means, but lately I have just been interested in other genres. I did finish it and am glad I did. It really was a good little story. I love reading about family and loved reading about these three siblings coming together when they really need each other.

The characters were all different, which I like. I also found it quite interesting
A GoodReads first reads ARC...

Overall I like this book. Alice, Griffin and Dinah are siblings who lose their mother, then a few years later their father and are raised by their grandmother. Fast forward to adulthood. Each sibling continues to struggle with being orphaned in different ways. Meanwhile the parents watch their children from Heaven. I got into the characters and their lives. I found their struggles to be honest and believable rather than over the top as somtimes happens in books.

I d
I won a copy of this book on Goodreads Firstreads.

This is the story of three orphaned siblings who suffer the death of both their parents at young ages and were raised by their paternal grandmother. The book takes place about twenty years after Alice, Griffin and Dinah lose their parents. Alice, the oldest, works as a Broadway actress in New York City. She struggles with her fear of commitment when she begins to date a single father who recently moved into her building. Griffin works as a chef
Dec 11, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I really did not know what to expect, but I really enjoyed this book. When I finished reading it, I was left feeling content and at peace with the world.

The parents of Alice, Griffin, and Dinah both die when the children are all quite young. They reside in an afterlife similar to Heaven, but one which is simply referred to as "Here" (as opposed to "There"--the land of the living). Twenty years after their deaths, the parents watch thei
Dec 01, 2010 Kelsie rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2010 Robyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book as an ARC from Goodreads.

In general, I enjoyed this book. I don't agree with the majority of the reviews up so far about loving Dinah more than the other siblings--I was actually more interested in Alice and Griffin and found Dinah quite trite. Nonetheless, the book as a whole is fairly well-written and moves along quickly.
The story is about 3 siblings--Alice, Griffin, and DInah--who, for the past 20ish years, have been living life without their parents, both of whom have died.
Mar 28, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
"I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads."

I'll let you read the synopsis to get a feel for the premise OR you can avoid the chance of spoilers and and dive right in. Mostly I really liked this book and suggest you read it, too.

The characters are flawed, but all struggle through their trials and grow, coming out better in the end. I think the growth in the characters is the strong point of this novel. I've read so many YA series lately in which the main characters fail
Melanie Coombes
Mar 28, 2011 Melanie Coombes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I adored this book. It was a wonderful story of three siblings, Alice, Griffin and Dinah, figuring out their place in life without the guidance of their parents. Their mother died in a freak accident when they were young children. Years later, tragedy strikes again and their dad dies of a heartache. Lovingly raised by grandma, the we meet these characters again as adults. Unbeknownst to the three siblings, they are tenderly watched by their parents from Heaven or Here as it is referred to.

Apr 01, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Won this advance readers edition through Goodreads.

This is the story of three orphaned siblings who endure the death of both their parents at relatively young ages and were raised by their paternal grandmother. The story follows their adult lives and the challenges they face in their relationships and ultimate growth. At the end of each chapter the parents offer their commentary on their children's lives as they watch from Heaven (or some other grand place not specifically labeled).

I think this
Sep 05, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this heartwarming story. It was slow in a few places, but Cook does a good job of showing how heartbreak and loss can change a person. The story starts out with three young children that have lost their mother, and then a few years later their father passes away as well. They grow up not knowing where or how to fit into life.

The concept is good, and I can see why she switches back and forth between the three children's POVs, and the parents' that have passed on. However, it had
Won a free copy from the Bookbrowse First Impressions program. Can't wait for it to get here!

Siblings Alice, Griffin, and Dinah, named for characters out of "Alice in Wonderland" lose first their mother in a freak accident, then their father. We get a small glimpse of them in their younger days before the story fast forwards to the adult siblings. All appear successful on the surface, but are struggli
Aug 31, 2011 Tiffanie rated it liked it
First book I have read by this author. Pretty good book actually. 3 siblings are orphaned at a young age their mother falling off a stool and hitting her head causing her early death the father a heart attack 10 yrs later. Their sent to live with their grandma each embarking on their own journey as they get older. Alice the oldest staring in plays lives in new York by her self. Griffin the middle child is homosexual living with his long term partner of 11 yrs theo in Chicago and the youngest Din ...more
Oct 27, 2010 Monica rated it liked it
Shelves: er-arc, fiction
I finally finished the book. It took me awhile to get into the story line.

The story is about 3 children who lose their mother and then they lose their father and are raised by their grandmother. Now the story is following each of them during their lives, while their parents are watching from the great beyond.

As the story progressed I found some of the characters growing on me. The 2 children are Alice, Griffin and Dinah. Their mother died when the youngest Dinah was about a year old. Then the fa
Apr 09, 2011 Chris rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2010 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I'm a First Reads winner!

The story and narrative goes back and forth between 3 siblings and their parents who watch them from a sort of afterlife. I thought the story on earth involving the siblings and their relationships was good and it kept me wanting to see what would happen next. The afterlife part was a bit annoying, and I wanted to skip it after a bit, but it filled in some of the narrative, so I couldn't skip it completely. I settled for skimming.
The afterlife parts at first were distrac
Jan 18, 2011 Marti rated it it was amazing
Outside Wonderland has given me a warm glow. I would give this book more stars if it were possible. Life happens and days pass. Everyone struggles with something/someone, but life is what we make of it and how we move forward. This book highlights this with the wonderfully warm characters of Eve, Griffin and Dinah. The brother and sisters lost their mother in an accident when they were very young and then their father when they were a little older. They seem to struggle with finding themselves a ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
I loved this book! It was like an old sweater, soft and warm. I loved the idea of Here, and the parents still checking in on their kids long after they have been able to really do anything for them. I loved how the mother and father agreed that the kids were making mistakes and that it was OK, and how they stopped worrying about the mistakes their kids were and would make because in the end, they didn't really matter that much. As someone who is constant worrier it is heavenly (pun intended) to ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Torimac rated it it was ok
The narrative had some strength and there were some lovely pages, but overall I never really connected with the characters. At first, as an orphan myself, I thought the writer might be trying to portray the isolation many orphans feel and the years it takes to get beyond that desolation, but no, in the end I don't think she ever thought of that idea at all.
The idea of the parents commentary from the great beyond (or "here") was appealing to me at first, but as another reviewer noted, it did fee
Sep 07, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
I won this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I enjoyed this book about three siblings. I think some things were included but touched on so lightly it left me with an unfinished feeling mid-book. For instance, Dinah's fear of dying and leaving her daughter behind, Alice's fear of commitment and Griffin's fear of parenting a child. Not to mention the part about Dinah's postpartum depression, which (I feel) the author should have either gone into more detail about or just left it out comple
Jan 07, 2011 Tenna rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thank you Goodreads for letting me read an advanced readers copy of this book!

I really, really enjoyed it. We all question death and what could happen to us after we leave this earth. This book described the "after life" in such a warm, peaceful way that it was almost whimsical. It should have been cheesy, but it wasn't. Just heartfelt and reassuring.

The characters in the book were well written and I was so anxious for everything to turn out ok for them. I really felt like they grew as I was r
Mar 25, 2011 Camille rated it it was amazing
I won this Advance Reader's Edition book in a giveaway. It was great! I didn't want to put it down once I started it. The characters were people I know and situations that we all find ourselves in at some point in life. I enjoyed the deceased parents talking from Here about what was going on in the lives of their children as they watched. Many people believe that the deceased watch us from above and care about our lives. The glimpse into what Cook thinks Here is like was also interesting: the an ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Maurin rated it liked it
While young, three siblings - Dinah, Griffin, and Alice - lose their parents as a result of two separate incidents. The story follows them, as adults, navigating difficult relationships and circumstances. Dinah, the youngest, has a short and spontaneous affair that leaves her pregnant. Alice is non-committal but wants to find stability in her life as an actress when she meets Ian, a single father of a young boy. Griffin and his partner, Theo, struggle as they deliberate starting a family. The si ...more
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Sisterhood of the...: Outside Wonderland, by Lorna Jane Cook 5 11 May 03, 2013 04:22PM  
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Lorna Jane Cook was born in Redwood City, California, and grew up in Michigan. She graduated from college with a B.A. in social work, and embarked on a career path from Michigan to Philadelphia and Washington D.C., working at at runaway shelter;a group home for teenage girls; an emergency services program; and on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant. Finally, she turned to novel-writing, an obv ...more
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“Even if the decisions one made on a given day seemed crazy, it helped to think that all things happened for a mysterious reason.” 10 likes
“Funny how you can think that the world is ending but still believe things will work out. We always think there's going to be a happy ending somewhere.” 2 likes
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