January 5, 2013

Review: Splintered

I had the pleasure of reading this during my holiday break, and I could not put it down. Howard had me from the start, questioning everything I thought I knew about Alice in Wonderland as well as questioning where I thought she was taking me in the novel.

in love with this cover
Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0428-4 
Pages: 384                                    
Ages: 14 and up 
Available: NOW at your local bookstore or library 

Summary (from the book jacket): 

Welcome to the real Wonderland. 

Alyssa Gardner hears the thoughts of plants and animals. She hides her delusions for now, but she knows her fate: she will end up like her mother, in an institution. Madness has run in her family ever since Alice Liddell told Lewis Carroll her strange dreams.

But perhaps she’s not mad. And perhaps Carroll’s stories aren’t as whimsical as they seem.

To break the curse of insanity, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole and right the wrongs of the real Wonderland, a place full of strange beings with dark agendas, a twisted fun-house reflection of Alice’s childish tales. Alyssa brings her real-world crush—the protective Jeb—with her, but once her journey begins, she’s torn between his solidity and the enchanting, dangerous magic of Morpheus, her guide to Wonderland. But no one in Wonderland is who they seem to be—not even Alyssa herself… 

My Thoughts: 

Whispers from bugs and flowers? Seems legit.

Welcome to a new tale of Alice, one that will shine a new light on the Wonderland readers have grown to love. This novel will make you throw all you think you know out the window as you delve into this debut novel.

Down, down, down the rabbit hole we go…and from the start I was hooked. I found this book to be The Bell Jar meets a teen eighties movie. Seriously.

As the story opens, Alyssa is trying to cope with being a teenager, having a job, having a crush, and having a mom in a mental institution. But that’s not all. She hears the whispers, the whispers that put her own mother away. Is Alyssa destined to suffer the same fate, or is there more to those whispers?

After a moment of nonsensical clarity, we are thrust into the world of Wonderland. A world that is full of twists and turns in more ways than we could ever imagine. Readers will re-visit the ills that Alice left behind in Wonderland when she left, and it is up to Alyssa to put everything back in order to save her sanity. No one can be trusted—not even Alyssa herself. Or is that a part of the madness that is Wonderland?

My connection to this novel and Plath’s deals with the feel of the novel. As I was reading this novel, I was unsure if I was descending into madness with Alyssa or if there was something concrete within the plot. I will not say more than that because it will ruin important elements of the plot, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

The connection to a teen eighties movie deals with the character of Jeb, Alyssa’s crush, and next door neighbor. I love Jeb, and I love that he accepts Alyssa for all she is. But I also love that I felt as if I were in a Molly Ringwald movie every time he was on the page with her. Imagine Sixteen Candles in Wonderland? How fun!

But this is not a novel that focuses on Alyssa and Jeb. This is not a love story in that sense. This is a coming of age story, but it is also a story of having faith in those who love you. That element of the story is fulfilled with more than just Jeb.

As a whole, I found Splintered to be an engaging mystery that kept me guessing until the final page. It will appeal to those who love a good re-telling and to those who just love an interesting story. 

Have you read Splintered? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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