Splintered by A.G. Howard
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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: For my YA Literature Course, we had to choose a fairy-tale retelling that was published in the last couple of years, so I decided to check out Splintered since I had been curious about it for awhile. I've read mixed reviews these last couple years, but I had a feeling that I would enjoy this darker side of Wonderland, and I was right. I have not read the original Alice in Wonderland book but I do have some idea about what occurs, so it was exciting to see how Howard mixed things up, making Wonderland a dark, sometimes sinister place.
While I did enjoy this book, it wasn't without its faults - for me at least. Some of the tests that Alyssa deals with seem all too easy to pass, though I suppose you could say there is a reason for that. Regardless, other tasks and adventures Alyssa deals with are more difficult and dark, so I suppose it makes up for it in the end. Second, there is the whole "love triangle" idea. I'm always wary about book summaries that talk about two boys, but this one was done fairly well. Jeb is someone Alyssa has known her whole life, a good friend who she has a secret crush on. As for Morpheus, there is more to him than it first appears and you don't really learn all of his secrets until the end of the book. However, I think the two guys were needed to showcase the opposite sides of Alyssa's personality, as well as help her though these tests. Basically, I wouldn't let the idea of a love triangle deter you from reading this book.
In general, I thought Splintered was a fun read. It's something you can't help but try and imagine on a big screen with all of the fun details. I also really love the cover and the fact that the print is purple - though the more you read, the more it seems black, so it's not distracting.
My song choice for Splintered is "Alice" by Avril Lavigne. This song was actually on the soundtrack for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but I think it suits Alyssa very well.