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.
"Howard's first book is as much a quilt as manuscript, stitching together bits of the zeitgeist with thread of the author's own spinning. Lewis Carroll's Alice serves as a backdrop, while characters like Brandon Lee's Crow and Neil Gaiman's Morpheus are models of dark desire. Protagonist Alyssa, however, is an original. The descendent of Carroll's Alice, 16-year-old Alyssa can hear bugs talking and fears she has inherited the madness that plagues her mother's side of the family. The only way to silence the insects' voices is by killing them, using the corpses as material for her ornate artwork. Howard's visual imagination is superior; a cavalcade of weirdness dances across the pages as Alyssa and her secret crush, Jeb, traverse a nightmare Wonderland, trying to save her institutionalized mother and resist the seductive influence of Morpheus. 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. Ages 14 up. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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." USA Today
"Brilliant, because it is ambitious, inventive, and often surprising a contemporary reworking of Lewis Carroll's Alices Adventures in Wonderland, with a deep bow toward Tim Burton's 2010 film version." The Boston Globe
About the Author
A. G. Howard is the author of Splintered and its sequel, Unhinged. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child. She lives in Amarillo, Texas.