Grade level (6 – 12)
A gifted teenager whose ancestor inspired a literary classic descends into a mystical under-land in this romantic, dark fantasy series debut.
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.
“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, starred review
“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.” —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.” —Booklist
“Howard’s visual imagination is superior; a cavalcade of weirdness dances across the pages. . . . 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
Thoughts: I haven’t read this book, but my daughter has checked it out of the library twice. She recently asked me to buy a copy. I did. Maybe your teen will like it too.