Splintered is the story of a young girl who, like all females in her family is 'cursed', with the ability to talk to insects and plants. This curse placed her mother in a mental institution and Alyssa fears the same for herself. Her family and the curse have a connection to the story of Alice and Wonderland and as Alyssa delves further into her family curse she realizes that she must go down the rabbit hole to save her mother and to learn the truth about her family and their origins. Alyssa Gardener is a teenage girl who, from the time she hit puberty, is able to talk with insects and plants. All of the women in her family are inflicted with this 'curse' and her mother and grandmother have been institutionalized for these abilities so she keeps it a secret. Alyssa is a bit of a tom-boy and likes to skateboard. She has a childhood friend, named Jeb who is her constant companion and crush. Jeb is currently dating a girl named Taelor whom teases and torments Alyssa for her family having a history of apparent insanity. Alyssa's mom is currently in a mental hospital and she visits her every week with her father.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Alyssa does everything that she can to ensure that she doesn't end up like her mother, including trying not to look like her. Jeb is constantly trying to protect her from everything and inhibits her from being the wild, curious and Alice-like girl that she is. After injuring herself at the skate park and being bombarded with Jeb's over concern, Alyssa maintains her regular visit to her mother. The visit starts normal but Alyssa accidentally leaks the fact that she too, is hearing voices from the bouquet of carnations on the table causing havoc with her mother and she is sedated shortly after. It's unclear at this point why she reacts with such fear and concern.
Alyssa starts to do some research into her family and begins to hear a familiar voice in her head. One from her childhood that's revealing what she needs to do to make the trip down the rabbit hold to spare her family from the curse. She is determined to find a way to get to this rabbit-hole, which she believes is in London so she is planning to get a fake passport. Jeb hears about this plan on the night of prom and stops by her house to lecture her. Alyssa and Jeb get into a fight, with Alyssa unable to reveal her true intentions, and Jeb storms off to go to the prom with Taelor. Alyssa listens to this familiar childhood voice further and discovers that she has all of the information, 'treasures' and tools to get to the rabbit hole. With the help of this voice she uses a mirror to open up a portal into Wonderland. She is told that she needs to envision her entrance to Wonderland with all of her heart, and after the fight with Jeb she finds herself wishing that Jeb was with her. This wish brings her into Wonderland, but not alone. Jeb appears with her.
Through their misadventures, Alyssa and Jeb must go and fix the havoc that Alice caused decades ago. They shrink sizes with the nibble of a cake, the meet a variety of characters that do not appear as the kid-friendly version that Alice detailed. After removing the ocean of tears and a near kiss with Jeb, Alyssa finally encounters that familiar voice. His name is Morpheus and he is handsome, charming and suspicious. Jeb hates him instantly and Alyssa is swarmed with memories of her childhood. She realizes that this man has been with her through her entire childhood teaching her things about Wonderland, which explains why she has felt so comfortable in Wonderland.
Distraught between trust and the affection that she has for both Morpheus and Jeb she ends up deciding to do as Morpheus advises and continue to fix the issues that Alice caused in her stay. She needs to get a special sword to free the Cheshire cat from the stomach of an awful Wonderland creature, which requires a visit to the Mad Hatter who has been frozen since Alice wrecked his watch. After freeing the creepy looking Mad Hatter, Alyssa discovers that Morpheus hasn't been completely honest with her as the sword is not where he said it would be. Morpheus tries to explain the situation further but Alyssa isn't completely sold. She is, however, left with little choice, as she cannot get out of Wonderland as it currently stands. She needs to get the Cheshire cats smile so that it can be reunited with its body, which requires her to visit the graveyard of Wonderland. Through this adventure, Jeb and Alyssa solidify their relationship despite Morpheus' attempts to dissuade Alyssa from him. She does have to enter the graveyard alone unfortunately. After a near clash with one of the sister keepers, Alyssa is able to leave the graveyard. She learns unfortunately, that Morpheus hasn't been honest with her all along and has Jeb imprisoned. **SPOILER** She learns that her family isn't cursed but that they are half-bloods, Queen Red's descendants, and that in order to appease a curse that Morpheus had placed on him he must crown a new red Queen and Alyssa has passed almost all of the tests **END SPOILER**. With Jeb being held prisoner, Alyssa will do just about anything that Morpheus asks of her.
In the end, Morpheus redeems himself and Alyssa is able to save Jeb and her mother. She is able to learn who she truly is and can be herself.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really enjoyed to horror/goth rendition of Wonderland. However, I could have easily done without the cheesy teenage romance and Jeb's over-protection of Alyssa. I feel that the book would have been better if it was written for adults.
Best scene in story:
The scene where Jeb and Alyssa are in the ocean of tears, the ocean that Alice caused with her crying, and the are able to soak up the entire ocean in a sponge. They then have to fight off the octobenus, which is a horror rendition of the Walrus.
Opinion about the main character:
I actually really enjoyed Alyssa as I related to some of her characteristics. She is a tom boy who isn't confident in her own abilities but find her confidence through her adventures.