Splintered by A.G. Howard (Abrams, 1419704281) is a mesmerizing YA novel that just came out on January 1st and is a fantastic read! It is along the lines of Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm series. Both a tribute to and a continuation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, (available from Dover Publications, 0486416585) Howard plays with the dark undertones in Carroll’s novels and draws inspiration from his real life muse, Alice Lidell.
Howard's debut novel produces a hatter who is just a bit madder, a Moth King who spouts red herrings and flies on gossamer wings, and a Wonderland that is macabre but grand, alluring but perhaps just a sleight of hand. You’ll be drawn into the story by nostalgia, but you’ll soon fall head over heels down the rabbit hole, eagerly navigating the plots surprising twists and turns.
Alyssa Gardner is your typical skateboarding, rainbow-hair-extension-wearing, sixteen year old girl... except that she is Alice Lidell’s great, great, great granddaughter and her mother is in an insane asylum. Alyssa is concerned that she has inherited the family curse – hearing talking plants and insects can make you a bit paranoid after all. She follows her delusions through the looking glass to save her mother from madness by breaking the curse and fixing everything Alice once put amok. Upon arrival in Wonderland, she discovers that her over-protective crush, Jeb, has followed her on this adventure, and she must rely on the alluring but devious King Morpheus, to guide her on a magical mission.
At its heart, Splintered is a quirky coming-of-age story with a vivacious cast of characters. Alyssa must grapple with the challenges of growing up which is confusing when you can’t decide who you trust, if you like the good boy or the bad boy, or even who you are. In the end, will Alice be able to break the curse, fix Wonderland, and get herself and Jeb back home … with their heads still intact?
Not only is this story enchanting and whimsical, but it inspired me to read The Best of Lewis Carroll (Book Sales, 0785813268) - some of my all time favourites - all over again. Howard's descriptions are vivid and draw on Steampunk, Gothic, and Tim Burton imagery, and her Splintered Pinterest boards are gorgeous!