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A Great and Terrible Beautyby Libba Bray
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Praise for Splintered:
"Fans of dark fantasy, as well as of Carroll’s Alice in all her revisionings (especially Tim Burton’s), will find a lot to love in this compelling and imaginative novel."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Alyssa is one of the most unique protagonists I've come across in a while. Splintered is dark, twisted, entirely riveting, and a truly romantic tale."
"Brilliant, because it is ambitious, inventive, and often surprising — a contemporary reworking of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’’ with a deep bow toward Tim Burton’s 2010 film version."
—The Boston Globe
"It’s a deft, complex metamorphosis of this children’s fantasy made more enticing by competing romantic interests, a psychedelic setting, and more mad violence than its original."
" Protagonist Alyssa...is an original. Howard's visual imagination is superior. The story's creepiness is intriguing as horror, and its hypnotic tone and setting, at the intersection of madness and creativity, should sweep readers down the rabbit hole."
"While readers will delight in such recognizable scenes as Alyssa drinking from a bottle to shrink, the richly detailed scenes that stray from the original will entice the imagination. These adventures are indeed wonderful."
"Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read..."
"Wonderland is filled with much that is not as wonderful as might be expected, and yet, it is in Wonderland that Alyssa accepts her true nature. The cover with its swirling tendrils and insects surrounding Alyssa will surely attract teen readers who will not disappointed with this magical, edgy tale."
—Reading Today Online
"Creepy, descriptive read with a generous dollop of romance."
—School Library Journal
YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten
"A Gothic touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror." Kirkus Reviews
"Bray's gripping and suspenseful debut novel provides the perfect canvas for Wyatt....Colorful details of Indian bazaars and the Spence School in London make this outing all the more compelling." Publishers Weekly
"A well written page turner, with strong characterization and dialogue, this Victorian-era gothic novel will find many readers unable to put it down until the very last page." Children's Literature
"Soundly researched and credible....[An] exhilarating and thought-provoking read." VOYA
"An interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure." Library Journal
A stirring historical paranormal romance, and companion to The Vespertine, featuring a spirited young woman as she sets out on her own to find new love, a new home, and her extraordinary magical power—and experiences all the joys and hardships of pioneer life.
Enter the scandalous world of King Charles II's court, where three young ladies in waiting discover a palace teeming with love, intrigue—and treachery.
Sixteen-year-old Addie, an aspiring actress on a mission to save the historic Jewel Theater, time travels between Seattle at the beginning of the War on Terror and the Seattle of WWI, with the help of a magic mirror. Addie not only jumps between centuries and conflicts, but finds romance with a boy from another time.
A 19th-century historical romance set in Victorian Baltimore about Amelia van den Broek, whose prophetic dreams have made her the talk of high society, and whose love for an artist distinctly outside of the social circle that threatens her place in it.
Eliza dreams of being a playwright for the kings theater, where she will be admired for her witty turns of phrase rather than her fathers wealth.
Beth is beautiful as the day but poor as a church mouse, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart.
Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies—and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with him becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. Though she knows she should stay away from the young, handsome king, Charles has a new bride, Queen Catherine, and a queen needs ladies in waiting.
And so Zabby, Beth, and Eliza, three Elizabeths from very different walks of life, find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen.
Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancé, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves
Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed
aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing
ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a
“springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of
holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water.
Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving
and start living.
About the Author
Libba Bray has worked as a waitress, a nanny, a burrito roller, and an advertising copywriter. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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