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BookHounds Review SPLINTERED by AG HOWARD @aghowardwrites @abramskids

Book Description

January 1, 2013

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.

About the Author

A. G. Howard is most at home when weaving the melancholy and macabre into settings and scenes, twisting the expected into the unexpected. She was inspired to write 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.
A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

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Alyssa, an artist and skater girl, is in her senior year of high school.  Her mother has been in an insane asylum for most of her life and although Alyssa accepts this, she can't accept that her mother, Alison,  is truly crazy, especially when she starts to hear the same voices from the flowers and bugs that her mother complains about.  Kids at school tease her about her lineage since she is a direct descendant from the original Alice (Liddell -- yes, the one from Alice in Wonderland). So when she stumbles on a website that encourages her to look further into the Alice legacy, she starts to remember snippets of her childhood and that leads her down the rabbit hole for real.  With her best friend, crush and next door neighbor, Jeb, along for the ride, Alyssa must struggle through a series of test which she believe will save her mother's life and sanity. Jeb is a fascinating artist and full of love for Alyssa but doesn't realize this yet.  

Her childhood friend from Wonderland, Morpheus, is not quite evil, but not quite good either.  Alyssa remembers playing with him for hours and her mother realizes that she needs to stay away from him which leads to an agonizing reaction that will forever shape Alyssa's life.  With her mother gone to the asylum, Morpheus is free is entice Alyssa to go down the rabbit hole again and with the promise of saving her mother, she goes willingly.  Oh, and Jeb just happens to be at the right place at the right time and off he goes as well.  The romance between Jeb and Alyssa is just perfectly swoon worthy.  

The story follows the characters of Alice's Wonderland but with much more insight and background which I found enthralling.  I mean, I am a huge Alice fan and have read everything I can get my hands on about Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll.  This is the best retelling I have read so far.  The descriptions are painted so graphically and not a bit over done.  The flavor of Carroll's original shine through on every page and the dialogue reflects that as well.  I love all the details Howard places and I was referring to my Alice copy as well.  That took me a bit longer than normal to read this one since i wanted to get my references correct.  This one is probably safe for even the youngest teen even though there are mentions of alcohol use, abuse, a bit of violence and a beautiful kiss.  It even has the perfect fairy tale ending.  SIGH.


  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Books (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419704281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419704284


  1. This was one of my most favorite reads this year. I absolutely loved this book and keep recommending that people get it when it comes out.

  2. This sounds like a fun read! Thanks for bringing this up! Great review. :)

    - Michelle


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