by A.G. Howard
Publication date: 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. (description from Amazon.com)
I LOVED this book. I was simultaneously torn between wanting to desperately tear through it to find out all the crazy/wonderful things that would happen and wanting to put it down periodically so that I could savor that first reading for just a little bit longer.
Howard wrote some ravishingly dark imagery in her version of Wonderland. Every time you think you recognize something from the original, there is a creepy and distinctive twist. Even Alyssa turns out to have facets that you would not expect. The characters have motivations that make for a more intriguing and power hungry tale than Carroll's version and ultimately, you as the reader have no idea who may survive this twisted place.
I'm having trouble even formulating an effective way to describe exactly how much I loved this book. Suffice it to say that even though I received a review copy, I will most definitely be buying my own hardcover copy in January so that I can read it again and ooh and ahh over the gorgeous aesthetic details (the cover, OMG!) inside and out while I do...
For now, let me just say I'm giving it a GOLD STAR and that I demand you all READ IT!!