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I Belong

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered

Author: A.G. Howard

GenreYA Fantasy


Publication Date: January 1, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1419704281 (Amulet/Abrams)

ISBN-13: 978-1419704284 (Amulet/Abrams)

Reviewed by:  Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Beautiful, epic retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland story, and it is amazing!

Opening Sentence:  I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers,

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Alyssa Gardner is a 17 year old girl and her life has never really been normal.  When she was 5 years old there was an accident, where her mother ended up hurting her.  Her mother ended up in an asylum for the mentally disturbed.  When Alyssa was in the 5th grade she had her first period and she started to hear bugs and plants talk.  Turns out Alyssa’s great-great-great grandmother is the girl that inspired Lewis Carroll to write the classic story of Alice in Wonderland.  Well it’s not just a story, Alice actually did visit Wonderland and while she was there she disturbed the balance of things.  Because the balance was never restored there was a curse placed upon all the females in Alice’s family.  All of the female descendents have ended up going crazy at some point in their life.  The only way for Alyssa to have a normal life and to save her mother from electric shock treatments is to break the curse.  So down the white rabbit hole and on to Wonderland she must go.

Alyssa is a girl with a lot of spunk and style.  She likes to skate and she loves to paint.  She has always been a little different, but she deals great with what she has been given in life.  She was a really easy character to connect with and I totally loved her. Once she enters into Wonderland you get to see her transform into this strong, capable woman that goes after what she wants.  She doesn’t end up going to Wonderland alone her neighbor and best friend Jeb accidentally comes with her.

Jeb Holt had been Alyssa neighbor since the 6th grade and they have pretty much been best friends ever since.  He is a skater punk/artist with a little bit of a bad boy streak in him, but underneath all of that he really is a sweet guy.  Honestly, just talking about him is making my heart pound a little faster.  He is a total heartthrob.  Alyssa has always had a secret crush on him, but she never said anything to him because she didn’t want to drag him into her crazy life.  They have really great chemistry, and some of my favorite moments in the book are between these two.

While they are in Wonderland they go on a crazy adventure to try and break the curse.  Alyssa has a mysterious guide that has been trying to help her succeed in her quest.  His name is Morpheus and he is the caterpillar from the original story, but he has now turned into a moth.  There is something so familiar about Morpheus and Alyssa realizes he is one of her childhood friends.  When she was a little girl he would enter into her dreams and bring her to Wonderland, but she hasn’t seen him in years.  He is her only ally in Wonderland, but he seems to have other motivations behind helping her.  She just doesn’t know what it is.  Alyssa needs his help so she decides to trust him.  Alyssa has a dark side to her personality that is undeniably attracted to Morpheus.  He is beautiful, mysterious, and there are little moments that show he really does care about Alyssa.

This book was really an amazing read.  A.G. Howard takes the world already created and she puts her own twist on it, and it is magical and fascinating.  The characters are well developed and very creative.  It is action packed with has a great romance.  This is a standalone book that has a perfect ending, leaving you very satisfied.  I loved this book so much.  I will defiantly be reading anything else that A.G. Howard writes.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy or retellings.  I think that you will really enjoy the book.

Notable Scene

A fiery knot tightens in my chest and I take a step back. “Control’?  Over What?  My Life? Reality check, Mr. Oblivious: I’m not your ‘kid sister’ anymore.  I’m done being shelved with all you other responsibilities-somewhere between clipping toenails and changing dirty socks.”  I shove him aside and start toward the glass chair, determined to wait there for Morpheus.

Without warning, Jeb snags one of the rings in my belt and spins me around.  In one smooth motion, he lifts me onto the narrow, crescent-shaped table.  My skin trembles beneath his touch as he scoots me all the way against the wall, his hips wedged between my thighs.  We’re level-face-to-face.  The fluttery feeling fells my head-and in the shadow of my darker side, a rush of satisfaction wells up, a perverse thrill that I can stoke his emotions to this gut-deep reaction.

I brace my hands against his shoulders to maintain space between us, but it’s only for show.  My bluff fades to weak-kneed enthusiasm the instant he snags my wrists and pulls them down, leaning in so our noses almost touch.

“Reality check right back at ya,” He says, his breath a hot rush in the chilly room.  “I know you’re not a kid anymore.  You think I’m blind?”  His fingers lace through mine, pinning my arms against the cold, smooth mirrors so our heartbeats pound against each other.  “You’re the one who’s oblivious.  Because there’s nothing brotherly about the way you make me feel.”

FTC Advisory: Amulet Books/Abrams provided me with a copy of Splintered. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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