Splintered #1. Author: A.G. Howard.
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 best friend and secret crush, or the striking but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. (Published summary.)
This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast is set in the present and narrated from the point of view of the Beast, but beyond that is quite faithful to the story. This is rather creepy, because while a daughter in exchange for a man’s life is a turning point in a fairy tale, it’s a lot weirder in modern times. The main character, the Beast, starts out a jerk and a creep (he seems to have no problem with using a magic mirror to spy on girls) but had a lot of character development. I liked the female lead much better.
Sexual content: Multiple kisses, two of them long. Character asks another what she’ll do if the car stalls in the middle of nowhere, she replies “Show some cleavage to a passing trucker?” Immediately admits she’s teasing. Some hugging. Fairies the size of grasshoppers, mostly naked. One seductive dance – the girl was under the influence of an odd food. Possessing spirit offers to control a girl’s body for a man – “You can bed her, mate her”. Romantic/sexual tension frequent through the book – girl has feelings for two boys, and even just brushing arms or touching hands she thinks it “turns my blood to fire” “sent needles along my skin” and such like. Passing innuendos in speech.
Language: 7 scatological terms, 2 bloody
Violence: One character kills insects and uses them in art. Character flubs skateboard trick and cuts her knee. Character’s braid seems to try to strangle her. Character steals money from a purse. Walrus eats an apparently lucid oyster alive. Walrus is eaten by a giant oyster. Two boys fight. Fight with a monster – three knights are killed and one man swallowed whole. Two instances of threatening with a knife at throat.