Pandora’s Wonderland: Retelling a Classic (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Meredith from Pandora’s Books here. For those who don’t know, I’m doing a joint Blogoversary celebration with Kayla and Stacie from A Wonderland of Reading. The festivities started on May 26 (their one-year Blogoversary) and will end on June 24 (my one-year Blogoversary). We’ll be alternating days and providing fun guest posts from our fellow bloggers and author friends. You can visit A Wonderland of Reading to see the first post and learn more about the details and the grand prize giveaway!

So today, I have the AMAZING Vivi Barnes, YA author of Olivia Twisted and the upcoming Paper or Plastic (January 2015), here with an epically awesome guest post. I absolutely adore Vivi! Thanks to Dahlia Adler, I had the honor of interviewing Vivi and reading Olivia Twisted before it released. I fell in love with Vivi’s fun plot and realistic characters – I was able to easily follow the story, despite never having read Oliver Twisted (which pulls us nicely into Vivi’s guest post)! I highly recommend her books to everyone and anyone! So, without further adieu, please welcome Vivi!


Retellings can be tricky things—the decision of what to keep and what to change is not easy. OLIVIA TWISTED is a contemporary novel (as was OLIVER TWIST in its day) so I needed to make the obvious updates—changing the workhouse to the foster care system, updating from pickpockets to hackers, etc.

I thought I’d share some of the “fun facts” of incorporating OLIVER TWIST into OLIVIA TWISTED (there are more, but these are some of my favorites).

1) In OLIVER TWIST, Mr. Bumble—the pompous parish beadle—was responsible for moving Oliver to his next home from the workhouse. Though greatly softened, he is reimagined in Julia, the child welfare official, who moves Olivia from home to home without noticing the obvious red flags, such as at her latest home with the Carters.

2) The Sowerberrys with whom Oliver Twist lives before joining Fagin’s gang are mirrored in the Carters, Olivia’s latest foster home. The experience in these homes plays into the decision of the main characters to join the gang of thieves.

3) Z’s real name is the true name of the Artful Dodger in OLIVER TWIST.

4) Charley Bates was the sidekick of the Artful Dodger in OLIVER TWIST. Z’s friend Sam is the equivalent in OLIVIA TWISTED.

5) Mrs. Bedwin is the kind-hearted housekeeper for Mr. Brownlow in both stories.

6) I was always impressed with how Nancy fought against everything society had made her to help Oliver escape from Bill Sykes, so I made her the house “mother” of the Monroe Street Home for Boys & Girls. In keeping with her nature, she is kind and tries to keep the safety and well being of the kids as her priority.

7) And finally, I enjoyed making a few references to the original story in passing conversations—at one point, Z is referenced as “Dodger,” because he “likes the Dodgers.” And in a nod to the original story’s focus, Z tries to justify the “business” of Monroe Street by telling Olivia, “It’s not like we pick pockets.” My friends tried to get me to include the famous line, “Please sir, I want some more,” but, ya know, I just couldn’t make it work without it sounding really weird.

Happy Blogoversary, Meredith and Pandora’s Books!

Along with Vivi’s’s wonderful post, we have an epic prize to give away! One lucky winner will receive a SIGNED copy of Olivia Twisted! This giveaway is US only, but fear not! We have INT giveaways going on in our Grand Prize Giveaway which you can enter here! We also have several International giveaways going on, which you can find listed here!

So, the rules:

-Giveaway is US Only

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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6 thoughts on “Pandora’s Wonderland: Retelling a Classic (Guest Post + Giveaway)

  1. I totally love to read “the other” books, both that were the originals for retellings, or were referenced in books I’m reading. I like seeing the mechanics behind it.

  2. I often read retellings if I’ve read or know the original well. It’s fun to find how the author changed things. But reading a retelling doesn’t always make me want to read the classic it’s based off of.

  3. Pingback: Sunday Post #9 | Girl of 1000 Wonders

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