SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard was released in the U.S. on January 1, 2013 in hardcover, paperback and audio editions. The eBook, originally slated for release on January 15, will be available on January 22.
Published by Amulet Books, the print edition is 384 pages.
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.
SPLINTERED is a dark, magical and wondrous tale that will take readers on an adventure that feels both familiar and yet new and exciting. To a world that is reminiscent of one they’ve been to before and yet is even more enchanting, quite a bit more disturbing and far more dangerous than they may have remembered it to be.
The landscape is richly detailed, incredibly vivid and imaginative, at times hostile and uninviting, at other times enticing, but always intriguing and utterly captivating. The story is filled with characters readers have met before, who are achingly familiar, though slightly, morbidly askew from how they may have originally presented themselves. And new characters who really bring this story to life with their heroism, their dark side, their goodness, their secrets, their sacrifices, their beauty, their pain and their madness.
The journey into Wonderland is every bit the extraordinary adventure it once was. But this time around, with Alyssa Gardner as their guide, readers will get to experience the adventure with someone not quite as naive as Alice, not quite as new to the world, and not quite as alone on her quest.
With Jeb Holt, her friend, her crush, her knight in shining armor, by her side, Alyssa must navigate the twists and turns, and challenges and riddles, of Wonderland. And with the dark and mysterious Morpheus, waiting in the wings, ready to step in to keep her focused on her quest, Alyssa is most definitely not alone as she attempts to right the wrongs of the past so she can return home.
Author A.G. Howard has delivered a gorgeous, lush, disturbing, gruesome, heartbreaking, heartwarming and so completely bewitching tale that will allow readers to fall down the rabbit hole and escape into the slightly sinister reality that is her version of Wonderland. And with a rather bizarre and somewhat grotesque dinner party, an even more horrifying tea party, and a number of equally unique stops along the way, Alyssa’s journey will be far more riveting to follow than Alice’s.
SPLINTERED is not simply a modern retelling of a classic tale. It expands on it. It casts a new – and harsher – lens on it. It revisits the world with new and different and wildly appealing characters. It presents new challenges that put new and deadly obstacles in the heroine’s way. And it adds layers that give this new tale depth and richness and complexity.
It is an epic, enchanting and magical adventure. It is a love story. It is deliciously dark and disturbing. It is bizarre and wonderful and extraordinary. It is an absolute must read. It is unforgettable.
Reviewer gives this book…
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
On a personal note…
Even after time and distance from this story, I am still crazy madly in love with it. It was so unique and different that I don’t think I’ve forgotten one second of it. And I don’t believe I ever will.
I’ve called SPLINTERED a “sticky” story and it is most definitely that. Because it stuck with me long after I’d read it. It’s still sticking to me months later. And it’s one that I imagine will become even more “sticky” when I get the chance to re-read this amazing book.
Which I plan to do. Often.
I loved SPLINTERED far more than I loved Lewis Carroll’s original tale. And that was one story I love, love, loved. So that says a lot about this incredibly awesome book by this equally amazing author. Because I got so completely swept up in her story that the real world just disappeared around me.
And when it came back into focus, I wanted it to disappear again so that I could fall back into the author’s world. So I could take that journey back to Wonderland. So I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus, Chessie and even the White Rabid.
I loved that feeling of familiarity that got all tangled up in the feelings of excitement and nerves and angst and heartbreak and anguish I felt. I loved getting to not only discover Alyssa’s story but to get just another glimpse at Alice’s.
I adored Alyssa and the fact that she wasn’t so perfect, that there was a dark, wild and free-spirited side to her. It’s what made for a much more compelling story, a far more relatable heroine and one incredibly exciting love story.
This book… Ah this book… brought out all the emotions. Its magic made me feel like I did when I first experienced Lewis Carroll’s story – filled with a childish wonderment. It’s characters made me grin, made me worry, worry, worry for them and broke my heart into sixty million pieces….
My heart still breaks when I think of what happened with… or how that one scene ended with….
I am desperately hoping for a sequel so that I can head back to Alyssa’s world and to Wonderland and get the opportunity to experience it an entirely new way. But until then I’ll just have to dive into the book I do have, fall in love again with the characters I already know and love, and re-discover all the little details I might have missed on first glance as I raced through the story.
I think I’ve already used all of the best adjectives to describe this book in the “review” part of this post. I’ve also had a major gush fest over this book on The Annex when I posted my thoughts back in November. And so I think I may have already revealed every emotion I’ve experienced when encountering SPLINTERED for the first time.
But I still say this book is so freaking amazing. I’m talking off-the-charts, forever kind of amazing. The characters are among my most favorite in YA fiction… how could they not be? I still have the hardest time deciding between “Team Morpheus” and “Team Jeb,” though I’m not entirely sure why I’m forcing myself to choose. And I just know I will bawl when I read that one scene.
That… is inevitable.
Because I’m so totally connected with this story. I am so enchanted by it. I love imagining all the possibilities for where the story might go if there was a sequel in the works. And I absolutely love thinking back on a scene that was so disturbingly chilly it still creeps me out to this day.
I have become such a huge fan of both the author and her out-of-this-world book SPLINTERED. I cannot imagine an existence where I haven’t read this brilliant book or “met” this amazing author.
This is one of my most favorite reads of all time and will most definitely be on the list of my “forever” books. And I know that however long I ramble, gush or sing its praises I will not come anywhere near to adequately describing its awesomeness.
It was insanely impossible to choose a favorite passage. I had so very many, you see. So I decided that two would work much better than one – though I chose two very short ones – and they are…
I’m waiting inside the rabbit hole, luv. Find me. His gaze burns the challenge into my soul like a brand.
Jeb releases my fingers and cups my face in his hands, barely touching me, like I’m breakable. “It’s me I’m losing control of. Hundreds of sketches, and I still can’t get enough of your face.”
This review is based on a mix of an eARC received by the publisher and NetGalley for review and a printed ARC received as a gift from another blogger. The review is my honest opinion about the book.