Fantasy Book Review: Splintered

Splintered by AG Howard

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.

Alyssa is a sympathetic girl with a mother in a mental institution. She has a crush on her neighbor Jeb, but he’s dating someone else. And to make matters worse, Alyssa thinks her mother’s mental illness is genetic as she hears insects talking to her regularly. But when Alyssa is pulled through the looking glass, she knows for sure that her mother isn’t really crazy. Her lineage is cursed.

Howard’s Wonderland is a dark and dangerous place with a unique spin on Lewis Carroll’s version. Nothing is as it seems and is often the reverse of the real world. Morpheus is a sweet talking “insect” who needs Alyssa’s help to set things right in Wonderland. But Morpheus hasn’t told Alyssa everything. And while she feels an attraction to Morpheus as well as Jeb, Alyssa isn’t a damsel in distress is this coming-of-age novel. Splintered is an enchanting tale with vivid characters, a complex story, and romance that is simply captivating.

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