Publication: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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.Thoughts: I was initially drawn to the cover, it's beautiful and creepy. Afterwards, the idea of a darker, twisted take on the Alice and Wonderland tale held much appeal. Howard doesn't disappoint on the weirdness at all. Alyssa comes across as this shy gothic beauty with a tad bit a crazy sanity. The thought that her entire family since the beginning with the original Alice has been riddled with a mysterious insanity and no one understands why. Alyssa, the main character has chosen to channel this ability into her art and it helps with silencing the bugs as well. One day her mother finally tells her about the family curse and warns Alyssa not go looking for clues because once she does, he will find her. Determined to save her mother, Alyssa decides to seek out the rabbit hole and fix the mess that Alice made. With an unexpected companion by her side and a disconcerting friend from her past, Alyssa may find that the truth is more skewed than she could ever imagine.
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.
Alyssa is naive and easily manipulated; I don't know how many times she gets played in this book by her friend, Morpheus. He is this dark, gorgeous guy from her past that treats her like a tasty morsel to toy with and he reads as a creepy pedophile even though, he appears her age. So, Alyssa seems oblivious to the fact that he's keeping information from her and the only person that sees through him is her friend, Jeb, yet Alyssa doesn't heed his advice. It's interesting how quickly Jeb takes the information about Alyssa's family and that he is willing to see the adventure through with her. He is over protective of her and it takes them both a moment to realize she is capable of taking care of herself, sort of. Overall, the writing is intricately crafted with its distorted nuances to the original story and would be a good read.