27 March 2013


Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: A. G. Howard
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 371
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (Where would we be without Goodreads?): 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.

My Thoughts: This is one of those books that I was willing to stay up all night reading just so that I could get to the almost end. Sadly, I couldn't stay up all night and finish it. This is definitely a world you can get sucked into. It is much darker than Alice in Wonderland but that adds to the interest. 

This novel works at all kinds of emotions. At times you think that the main character is crazy but soon you find that you get pulled into this crazy world in which she lives. You are happy when she is happy, confused when she is confused, and sad when she is sad. Parts had me teary eyed. Other moments had me excited. The story is also very good at confusing one's feelings and emotions. Do you want her to be with guy A or guy B? You go back and forth. It hurt my head. This is because of how confused the main character is. It's good to have a little bit of this.

The characters are amazing. They all have depth, thank god. Sometimes they make you so angry then, moments later, they make your heart melt. One part of this story absolutely devastated me. Alyssa has to make a choice and chooses to save someone she loves. This choice has some sad consequences that I prayed would be undone but they weren't. Luckily, it all turns out okay. On the other hand, I realized that someone else would be saved. Figuring this out of my own took away from the plot a bit when it actually happened but, trust me, I was happy nonetheless! 

I have to be honest, I pretty much threw out what Alyssa looked like in my mind. I couldn't help it but I found that, every time there was a description of her, I had been imaging something else. The other characters, however, have descriptions that are hard to ignore, especially the Wonderland characters. They are so creative that they really capture you. I loved that they were the perfect, pretty characters from Alice in Wonderland. The author was very smart to add an explanation as to why the characters looked different than they did in Alice in Wonderland. I like that; it makes it more real to me. It also makes sense. 

In Closing: I think that you should give this book a shot but I definitely think it would be a good idea to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass before this novel because, if you do, you can make connections that would otherwise be lost on you. One of the best parts of this story is that the author clearly did their homework. I love when I see a reference and notice it. I love being in the loop that way. I think that you should read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and Splintered, that's the moral of the story. 

Check out the author's blog for more information on this outstanding novel: http://anita-authoraghoward.blogspot.ca/

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