So I'm cheating a little bit today because I just finished reading an amazing ARC that I can't resist putting in a plug for.
Goodreads Book Description: 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.
My rating: 5 out of 5
My Review: I requested this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Splintered by A.G. Howard joins the ranks in recent YA lit in taking a beloved classic children's tale and bringing it into a more contemporary setting. Many others have failed. Howard does not. Splintered is a darkly inventive, Tim Burtonesque Wonderland adventure that introduces us to a wonderful protagonist, Alyssa, a descendent of Alice Liddell who inspired Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland. A mental illness seems to afflict all the female descendants of Alice, and Alyssa herself starts hearing insects and plants speak, something that her own mother is currently in a mental institution for. Along with her best friend, Jeb, she realizes the world is not what it seems and will travel far and do the unthinkable to save her mother's life.
I don't want to give away any secrets from this novel because it's a marvelous adventure from start to finish. I absolutely adored the protagonist. She is young and malleable, properly so for her age, but she learns and grows as the book progresses. The pacing is very well done as secrets are revealed at the right time and place. Jeb is a wonderful love interest-- a guy that anyone would be lucky to be with. Morpheus, on the other hand, is a great foil and counterpart to Jeb. We can see how he entices Alyssa, but at the same time, frightens her. I love how Howard doesn't slip into the usual mistake of making him two dimensional-- he is very well developed and we can see how he has become what he is, and how he is not beyond redemption. I also want to mention how terrific each detail of Wonderland is-- Howard knows the story well and inserts delightful detail to all of her twisted creations.
Overall, I was extremely impressed by this novel-- a darkly enticing tale that turns Wonderland on its head-- in a way that only respects and amplifies the original. Howard is definitely an author to watch.
This should be on everyone's to read list. It's fantastic.
Just so you all know, I am going to host an interview with Morpheus, arguably the most fascinating character in the book in February with a kick butt giveaway of the book. Stay posted!
Until then, enter these giveaways!
1. International Giveaway of signed copy of If I Lie by Corrine Jackson OR Three swag packs!
IF I LIE giveaway
2. Spooktacular Giveaway Hop- $10 Amazon gift card/$10 towards a book from Book Depository (winner's choice)- INT
Spooktacular Giveaway hop