Splintered (Splintered, #1)
by A.G. Howard
Published: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
This stunning debut
captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a
girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the
whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her
mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches
back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis
Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa
learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality.
The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis
Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests,
including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea
party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and
save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous
best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her
guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Wow!! That about sums it up for me. For some reason after I received a galley copy of Splintered I stalled on reading this book, but once I started I couldn't put it down.
Howard has an amazing way with words, that pulled me into the story immediately. The characters, the setting, the romance, and the adventure were all exquisitely done. Am I gushing? I think so, but I also think it is deserved.
Alyssa is a skater girl with a crush on the boy next door, who just happens to be dating her nemesis. But Howard doesn't fall into the easy trap of stereotypes. Alyssa is weird, artsy, and likeable. Jeb is hot, nice, and the kind of guy I would have crushed on when I was younger. The connection between the two of them is evident immediately and there were so many points during the book where the interactions between them were heart wrenching. When Morpheus is added to the mix, Howard managed to create an intriguing love triangle that contributed to the story instead of taking over.
I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a few years ago and it didn't capture my interest. I had a hard time visualizing a lot of what the world looked like. Maybe that's why it took me so long to read this. Having seen the movie after as well as a theater production of it after I did at least appreciate the finer points. While reading Splintered a lot of little pieces clicked with me and I loved how I was able to connect it back to Lewis's work. Do you need to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to follow Splintered? No. But it wouldn't hurt.
As of right now this is my top read this year. I absolutely can't wait to read the next book in the series!