Alyssa Gardner is a teen who is tired of being protected. Recently, her dad and best friend, Jeb, conspired to prevent her from taking her last semester of high school in London to study art, which is exactly where Jeb will be. Sure, Alyssa has a lot on her plate with her mom being in a psych ward after badly scarring her daughter's hands, but her dad and Jeb don't even know the half of it. Alyssa is terrified that she's going to end up like her mother --- that she'll inherit the crazy that most of her female relations have demonstrated...the Alice Lidell Wonderland curse. The worst part is...Alyssa can already hear bugs and plants talking to her.
"A.G. Howard's debut novel not only revisits Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND in a unique way, its striking details gives Wonderland a new life."
To combat the constant chatter, Alyssa listens to her headphones nonstop, creates bug traps to use the insects' bodies in her art and often escapes to an underground skate park where there is no plant or insect life. However, the visions Alyssa has of a seemingly familiar moth and dreams she has of playing with a young boy with wings are unavoidable. While the allure of this bug boy is strong, Alyssa is also grappling with her feelings for Jeb who has been one of her closest friends since he moved in next door. They have always been there for each other, until he started dating the one girl who never let up on the Alice in Wonderland jokes. When Alyssa finds out that Jeb and Taelor are moving to London together, Alyssa gets desperate and decides to find the rabbit hole herself and break the Wonderland curse to save her mom from further psychiatric treatment.
A.G. Howard's debut novel not only revisits Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND in a unique way, its striking details gives Wonderland a new life. It turns out, Alice didn't tell the story with all it's details. The White Rabbit is actually a skeleton and the caterpillar is an attractive man/moth who seduces Alyssa into going along with his plan, which may or may not deal with breaking Alyssa's family curse. But not everything is as it appears. With unexpected plot twists, this novel is a Tim Burton film written down for you to imagine in all its glory. And with another book on the way, you're craving for more will soon be satisfied.
Reviewed by Liz Kossnar on December 10, 2012