One of my favorite lines in A.G. Howard’s YA novel Splintered: “Look inside yourself. Because finding who you were meant to be? What you were put into this world to do? That’s what fills the emptiness. It’s the only thing that can.”
Splintered is a modern day twist on Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Gardner is the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the woman who inspired Lewis Caroll.
Alyssa is not the average girl-next-door; she creates artwork using dead insects, hears the thoughts of plants and animals, wears fingerless gloves every day to hide her scars, visits her mother each Friday at a mental institution… And yet, I found it easy to relate to Alyssa. She’s an outcast, she’s in love with her best friend who’s dating a popular girl, she’s outspoken but secretive, she’s passionate about her artwork, and the well-being of her friends and family.
On the day of the prom, which Alyssa isn’t going to, she visits Alison in the mental institution. Alison acts more like Alice from Wonderland than she acts like a mother. When Alyssa admits that she hears the voices of plants and animals too, Alison confesses that the women in their family are cursed. A literal and figurative storm ensues and in effect, Alison is drugged and dragged away. Realizing the next step for her mother is electroshock therapy, Alyssa vows to break the Liddell curse, which means uncovering the rabbit hole and falling through it. And that’s when things get really fascinating.
Splintered is an amazing novel and I can’t wait to read more from author A. G. Howard.