*2013 Debut Author*
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: January 2013 from Amulet Books
Acquisition: received for review from the publisher via 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.(from Goodreads)
When I read, I form a picture in my head - like a little movie. Sometimes it's boring, sometimes the narrative skips too much and I can't quite see the picture clearly. And sometimes I am completely and fantastically overwhelmed with images, feelings and experiences.
Fantastically overwhelmed in this case is a very very wonderful thing. If you've read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you know how Lewis Carroll created a rich tapestry of characters and impossible situations. Expanding on this universe would be tricky at best. Improving it? Impossible!
Not so, because Howard has done just that.
Imagine Wonderland as a real place and imagine it skewed through the experiences of a very young girl. Imagine all those strange creatures Alice encountered. What were they really like? What rules governed this land?
Howard asked these questions and many more and the world she created is beyond belief - spectacularly so!
I pretty much loved Splintered with one small exception. For me, the romance didn't quite jive. Jeb is a great character. A great friend, a great 'boy' and someone I really enjoyed getting to know. But with so much already going on in the story and in Alyssa's life, I felt like the addition of a romance was just a little too much. The story would have done fine on it's own. I understand why Alyssa needed Jeb but overall I didn't feel like the story itself needed him - if that makes any sense.
Even so! Lots and lots of love for Splintered over here! So much in fact that even though I read an e-galley I plan on buying a print copy. Splintered is a book I couldn't imagine NOT being on my shelves.
Will I continue the series?
YES! I CAN NOT wait for book 2! Not loving the cover but seriously, it could be the most obnoxious book cover ever created and I'd still welcome it into my home.
5 / 5 Stars
#2 Unhinged (2014)