Splintered (Splintered Series #1)

Splintered (Splintered Series #1)

4.6 158
by A. G. Howard

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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…  See more details below


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."
USA Today

"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."
Publishers Weekly

"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..."
Kirkus Reviews

"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


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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This darker, modern update of Alice in Wonderland is more likely to please fans of Tim Burton's film adaptation than those of Lewis Carroll's novel. Alyssa, 16, is a descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who was Carroll's inspiration for Alice. Her mother lives in a mental institution, and she herself struggles with hearing voices from insects and flowers. Do the women in her family suffer from a curse that can somehow be traced back to the original Alice? The opening chapters drag a bit, but the action picks up when Alyssa finds herself in Wonderland, fighting for her survival-and for her mother's sanity. Howard maintains a lush atmosphere throughout, reintroducing Carroll's characters as truly nightmarish monsters. Though Alyssa's ongoing quests can sometimes seem aimless and the requisite love triangle forced, teens looking for a creepy, descriptive read with a generous dollop of romance will gravitate toward this title.—Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA
Publishers Weekly
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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Insects and flowers talk to teenager Alyssa Gardner who has heard those intrusive voices since puberty awakened her unusual abilities. Descended from Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871), Alyssa copes with her family history tainted by insanity. Living with her father, Alyssa misses her mother Alison who is confined in a mental hospital and provides Alyssa cryptic clues and warnings relevant to Wonderland. Aware doctors have scheduled electroconvulsive therapy for Alison, Alyssa realizes she must go to Wonderland to rescue her mother and restore stability in their lives by attempting to reverse damages Alice inflicted there. Adeptly incorporating literary elements from the original texts, this narrative provides motifs, symbols, characters, settings, and themes true to Carroll's imaginative vision. Readers vicariously enter the macabre Wonderland with Alyssa and her romantic interest Jeb who encounter situations jeopardizing their survival. Among challenges she must successfully complete, Alyssa empties an ocean created by Alice's tears. As she traverses the intricate, dangerous labyrinth of this malevolent Wonderland filled with illusions and paradoxes, Alyssa realizes it is saturated with more dire dilemmas than the whimsical concepts Carroll's stories presented. She meets contrary beings, including predatory moth-man Morpheus who has stalked her since childhood. These characters confound Alyssa with their absurdities, brutality, and malice, enjoying her discomfort, misery, and struggles to resist succumbing to madness. The thrilling, suspenseful tone intensifies as Alyssa strives to prevail in by outwitting and battling fierce, sinister antagonists, discovering truths regarding her identity and destiny. Read with Simon Winchester's The Alice Behind Wonderland (2011) and Frank Bedor's trilogy The Looking Glass Wars (2006), Seeing Redd (2007), and ArchEnemy (2009). Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
VOYA - Jessica Miller
When Alyssa Gardner hit puberty, she got not only the usual growing pains but also her dose of the family madness. She had not wanted to believe it, but when she starts hearing insects and flowers talking, she realizes it is definitely true; the women in her family, descended from the famous Alice Lidell who inspired Lewis Carroll's tale of Wonderland, are cursed to lose themselves to insanity. When the mysterious man from her dreams gives her the opportunity to break the family curse, Alyssa cannot do anything but choose to follow him through a mirror into the land that seems to haunt her. What Alyssa finds is a dark version of the tale most know and love, as well as fantastic secrets about her own heritage. As Alyssa descends into this mad world, she must decide whether to stay or go home, and whether to trust the boy she has grown to love or the man who haunts her while she sleeps. Howard's compelling reimagining of Carroll's classic tale is mesmerizing. With every remembered detail, Howard adds a dark and creepy twist. Even Alyssa has facets that the reader may not originally expect. The characters have motivations that make for a more intriguing and power-hungry tale than the original, and ultimately readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats, unable to predict who will survive this twisted place. Libraries looking to add to their fairy-tale retellings should definitely consider purchasing this title. Reviewer: Jessica Miller
Kirkus Reviews
An Alice returns through the rabbit hole in this cinematic if oversaturated goth-punk retelling of Alice in Wonderland. When she reached adolescence, Alyssa Gardner began to hear voices, like her mother and the other "Alices" before her. Instead of talking back, she kills the whispering bugs and flowers and uses them in her morbid art, maintaining her spot as school oddball and tortured artiste. Madness, gift or curse, Alyssa ignores the legacy of Alice Liddell until she must enter Wonderland to save her mother. With hot crush Jebediah Holt--artistic, scarred and with an endlessly fascinating labret--in tow, Alyssa races to correct the original Alice's mistakes, drying up the sea of tears, punishing the walrus and restarting the tea party. Alyssa's rather muddled mission becomes even more convoluted thanks to tasks assigned by Morpheus--a dark butterfly-boy who has haunted her since childhood. Alyssa thrives in the chaos, though characters' murky motivations cast her as pawn rather than queen in Morpheus' ever-shifting chess game. Howard playfully employs Carroll's original matter, but the absurd Victorian framework suffers under the weight of a standard teen love triangle as well as added issues of parental abuse and mental illness. Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read. More Tim Burton than Lewis Carroll, a sensuous version of Alice's adventures for the Hot Topic crowd. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

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Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Splintered Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

A. G. Howard wrote Splintered while working at a school library. 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.

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