Publisher: Amulet Books
Formats Available: Hardback, E-Book
BLURB from 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.
I received a galley of this book from Netgalley. So I'll start with the cover....Mmm I like the cover, it hints at the "darkness" within the book. Would I pick it up in a book store? Yes, out of pure curiosity to know more. Upon reading the book, you then realise the female on the front cover is Alyssa.
So now to the book, which is a dark, twisted version of what happened to the original "Alice In Wonderland's" descendants. Alice is Alyssa's maternal grandmother. Alyssa's mum is called Allison and is in an asylum, but is she really mad? The asylum doctors want to give Allison electrotherapy treatment. After an eventful visit with Alyssa, her father and Allison, Alyssa decides she must break the family curse....and to do that she needs to go down the rabbit hole. Before that she has to find the rabbit hole! Her mother may be in an Asylum but she has been secretly preparing Alyssa for a time she may have to visit Wonderland. There are many clues in the Alyssa's home to be found and fitted together to reveal, how to get to the rabbit hole. Jeb is the gorgeous next door neighbour who is always there for Alyssa, as she is for him. Alyssa's feelings have developed over time and she is realising, she wants more than just friendship from her relationship with Jeb, does he want the same? The book also has many twists and turns in who Alyssa should/can trust. Alyssa has two "love interests" as she once again finds the gorgeous, gregarious, yet dangerous and strange Morpheous. Which guy will Alyssa end up with? Will she end the curse?
When I first took on the task of reviewing this book I was a little apprehensive as to whether I would truly enjoy this book or not. I sadly admit that Alice In Wonderland was not one of my favourite children's tales, I always found it and The Wizard Of Oz kind of scary! Upon reading the book, I admit to using the cliché line of "curiouser and curiouser" when I was reading it, as that is what happens in the book. The book reminds me of a Tim Burton-esque style take on the Alice In Wonderland Tale. The author writes the twists and turns in the book brilliantly well, and seriously has you on the edge of your seat at lots of times during the book. Do you need a knowledge of "Alice In Wonderland"? Not really, but there was an "extra enjoyment" when you felt the jigsaw pieces click in to place within the old and new stories. The new A. G. Howard version on a sequel to Alice In Wonderland is so engrossing, it sucks you into the story as though you are there with Alyssa. It is at times sad and poignant, especially when you learn of what really happened to Alice in this version. I love a scene near the end of the book where Alyssa "sees" something, a scene perhaps from the future?
So did I enjoy the book? I loved it! Would I recommend this book? Yes! Would I read more by A.G. Howard? Yes, I love her darker, twisted style, like Tim Burton but for books. Would I read a Bk#2 in this series? Yes and after all, didn't the original Alice visit Wonderland on more than one occasion. I mean Alyssa still has the key. Then there's the scene where she "sees something" too that would point towards a Bk#2. I hope there is Bk#2 I would certainly wish to read it. Just one more thing I feel I should/must add I could truly see A. G. Howard's book being made into a film with Johnny Depp playing the part of Morpheus!
Available from Amazon.co.uk