Title/Author: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Publisher/Date published: Amulet Books, January 1st 2013
How I got this book: bought it
Goodreads summary: 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.
I always have mixed feelings before diving into a retelling, I'm both excited and worried the author has screwed up one of the stories I know by heart. I'd heard people rave about Splintered before I started it (namely Rachel @ Fiktshun whose taste in books I completely trust) and guys, IT WAS SO GOOD!!!
I absolutely love the tale of Alice in Wonderland and this darker, twistier version of what exactly happened is just my kind of story! A.G. Howard has managed to completely alter my perception of Lewis Carroll's tale, making me even more intrigued and gah, now I want to re-read his original tale! And this one! I loved the tale but couldn't get into the writing style as a kid, so I might just have to give it another try.
Alyssa is a little off-beat and I like that. I thought using bugs she traps and kills for her art was a little gruesome, but it fit into the story really well. I felt so bad for Alyssa, being afraid she would go mad like her mother and trying desperately not to resemble her in any way. I loved seeing her grow throughout the novel and embrace her identity, it was wonderful! I would have liked to have seen a little more of how things were the 'real world' before diving into Wonderland, but I can easily overlook this, cause the story really took off once we went down the rabbit hole.
Of course there are the boys: Jeb and Morpheus. And for once, while I'm usually all about the good guy, and I do love Jeb, I could actually imagine choosing Morpheus. That is one sexy winged guy! And he could relate to Alyssa's darker side far better and got her connection to Wonderland. I kinda loved his dual nature.
But Jeb stole my heart as well with his protectiveness and his genuine caring for Alyssa and just being selfless.
I really got lost in A.G. Howard's writing and her version of Wonderland! I kinda saw some of the twists coming, but was shocked by the ones I didn't! And it felt wonderful! I was so rooting for Alyssa, Jeb AND Morpheus (I can't help it, I love him) to figure everything out and I wasn't sure whether to wish for Alyssa to stay in Wonderland or to return to her home, but I was just so there in the moment with these characters! I love it when that happens!
I was kinda sad about one thing though:
***SPOILER! LIGHT UP TO READ***
Jeb forgot EVERYTHING that happened in Wonderland!! I mean, seriously? All the moments in which I adored him and he just doesn't remember any of it?? Also: how is Alyssa ever going to tell him about it? Is she going to tell him at all? I just don't want to let these characters go and want ALL THE ANSWERS!
***END OF SPOILER***
A.G. Howard's writing is vivid and amazing and completely lives up to the gorgeousness that is the cover of Splintered! With this as her debut, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. I completely fell in love with this dark and twisty version of Alice in Wonderland and am already itching to reread it!
My rating: 5 stars