Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 1st 2013
*Approved through NetGalley
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.
When I first heard about this book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The summary made it sound like it would be an amazing book and that is exactly what I got. I absolutely loved it. As soon as I finished it I just wanted to read it again. Thankfully I got to read Splintered on my nook but I absolutely need to go buy the physical copy. I need that cover on my shelf! Isn’t it pretty?
Alyssa can hear bugs. They whisper to her. She knows it’s not normal, and it is one of the reasons her own mother lives in a mental hospital, so she hides it and silences the whispers by turning these bugs into art. She fears she is also going insane just like her mother so she keeps the whispers to herself. Everybody already knows that she is related to Alice, Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for Alice In Wonderland, and they already don’t let her forget it so she keeps the real reasons for her mothers treatment a secret from everyone, including her best friend Jeb. As the whispers continue Alyssa starts to dig into her families past and tries to find answers. Then things get worse with her mother and Alyssa knows she needs to do something to save her mother and herself from their families curse. Alyssa begins to think that maybe the curse is real and she decides to take the plunge, find the rabbit hole, and find a way to get her mom back home.
I felt really bad for Alyssa having to live with wondering whether she was going to end up in an asylum like her mother. Alyssa has a scarred childhood that she doesn’t fully remember and that she doesn’t like to talk about but she still loves her mother and hates to see how much her dad misses her. It was sad when Alyssa would talk about her father and how he tried to hide how much it hurt him that her mom wasn’t with them but she could see it anyway. I also felt bad because, although it was understandable, her dad held her so close and everyone else made decisions for her. Her father and Jeb never really let her decide and do things on her own. She was sick of it and I would have been too. Mostly though it takes guts to decide to search for something you don’t really know exists and go through a journey with no idea how it will end. She didn’t really know what she was doing, people kept secrets from her, others pushed her to do what they thought she should do and she had to learn pretty much everything along the way but she kept going and didn’t give up. I loved reading about her finding herself/who she is and sticking up for herself more.
One of the people, besides her dad, always making decisions for her is Jeb. Alyssa has known Jeb for years. He’s her best friend and old time crush but his new girlfriend Taelor and the fact that he makes decisions with Alyssa’s dad for her has pushed them apart slowly. His girlfriend is a bitch who is horrible to Alyssa but he can’t see it and Alyssa gets annoyed with how much he watches out for her. She thinks he acts too much like her older brother and doesn’t see her the way she wished he did. They aren’t as close as they used to be but somehow when Alyssa goes down to Wonderland Jeb is right there with her. Although, it annoyed me that he didn’t trust Alyssa to make all her own decisions I did still like Jeb. He was also an artist with a troubled childhood who had fears of following his fathers footsteps. The connection that those two had was so obvious but of course they both were in denial. I have to say Jeb was a bit pesky but he was also always there for Alyssa and I did like him.
I liked Jeb but I loved Morpheus! He also has a strong connection with Alyssa, one she doesn’t completely understand but knows its there. She is drawn to him which she finds annoying but also thrilling. He was sexy and trouble. You never knew what his real motives were but he always kept things interesting and Alyssa was able to be a different person with him. I loved how he could get under everyone’s skin. He was just my favorite!
Overall, the cover is gorgeous, I loved how each chapter had a beautiful design, and the writing was great. Everything was described so well. I really felt like I was watching everything unfold. While I read I felt like I was watching a movie in my head and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The Wonderland that A.G. Howard created was phenomenal. I love how she made it dark and twisted while also explaining why its not the Wonderland everyone else has read about. There were so many twists and turns which had me asking so many questions throughout the story. I was dying to know how everything would end. There was just a lot to think about and I was never 100% convinced with anybodies motives. Everything was tied together nicely though and although I can’t say I am totally happy with the ending (have to admit I am torn) I was still satisfied. I just loved it and although the book was over I just wasn’t ready for it to end. I wanted more and more. I am so happy I got to read A.G. Howard’s debut novel and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
Oh and guess what? There is a playlist! You know how much I love those You can check it out here!