Author: A. G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Amulet, 2013
Series: Splintered, Book 1
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Well, this story is certainly original. Alyssa's great-great-great grandmother was Alice Liddell. Her grandmother was supposedly insane. Her mother is in an asylum. And Alyssa hears bugs talking to her.
The dark Wonderland is like a nightmare. It didn't sound very much like a place I'd want to visit, but it was a place I very much enjoyed reading about.
Jeb is over-protective and bossy. Morpheus is lying and sneaky. But, somehow, Alyssa loves them both. The detailed descriptions of what everyone is wearing made me wonder if I'd stumbled into a fashion magazine without realizing it. The teen angst and sappy love scenes left me feeling like I'd eaten too much sugar. That being said, the story was pure fantasy and while I didn't much care for most of the characters, I am a sucker for original fantasy stories.
I'm going to give the second book a try. Since I've been told Splintered is the best of the series, I'm a little afraid to.
Rating: 5.5 / 10