First Lines: I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.
Because I was reading this on vacation, it took nearly two weeks for me to finish. That’s an incredibly long time for me. But let me tell you, it certainly got me some strange looks from people when I carried this around with me. And that is why I like physical books more than Kindle books.
Alyssa Gardner can hear the bugs and flowers whisper to her. She’s not crazy…but it does run in her family. The family crazy curse goes back generations, to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the source for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. And maybe Alyssa is going crazy, but she’s keeping it in check for now. When her mom takes a turn for the worse in the mental hospital, Alyssa learns that maybe Wonderland isn’t the fiction she always thought it was. Determined to break the curse and help her mother, Alyssa dives headfirst into that strange world. But going home won’t be easy. Alyssa needs to pass some tests in order to fix her family’s mistakes. She also needs to discover who she will trust: Jeb, the cutie from next door she’s grown up with or Morpheus, her darkly handsome guide through Wonderland.
Ok, so the beginning of this book is kind of slow because there is just so much set-up. You have to get to know everyone in the “normal” world because most of the story takes place in Wonderland. And it takes a while. But once Alyssa gets into Wonderland, it picks up quickly. There are tons of characters that I’m not sure are in the original story, but they are quite…colorful.
I liked Alyssa as a character, though there were times she grated on me a little. She just said some things or made some choices that I wasn’t happy with. It happens, I know. But I really liked Jeb, who seemed to pull the whole story together.
It was a really twisted read. And I read twisted stuff like this all the time. A. G. Howard says she was inspired by Tim Burton and boy, you can definitely see that. I am so not complaining, either. It made everything interesting and impossible to predict what would happen next.
Overall, it was a fun read, but it wasn’t perfect. This is the author’s debut novel, and I think the writing will get better with the next one.