‘Twas brillig but… [Splintered in review]

my winter wonderland from Saturday in the White Mountains

Despite my high hopes based on the cool cover and the enticing synopsis, I was greatly disappointed in Splintered. The opening scene is promising — Alyssa is morbidly describing her hatred and killing of talking bugs — but the story goes rapidly downhill from there. 

My expectations build with an action-less intro scene, some long backstory, a recurring dream sequence (waaay too long before anything happens in this book, but that’s another problem): after the long setup of this loner teenager, hiding her insanities of hearing talking bugs, teased and presumably friendless, she goes to an unrealistically awesome skate park alone, crashes to be picked up embarassingly by a hot staffer… who is a best friend/neighbour since childhood? Where did that come from? A few scenes later suddenly she has two bff’s.

This is a very jarring introduction of characters that shouldn’t exist according the opening pages. That she’s crushing on the hot bf is no surprise. More confusing still were the descriptions of his way too frequent caresses: all hot and steamy one second, cool just friends the next.

By that point, I could no longer trust the author. Rather than evoke the fantastical deranged falling down the rabbit hole and emerging wonderland, descriptions were self contradictory and the similes impossible. For instance, just how can fiber-optics be “a soft velveteen fuzz”? When she should be pulling me into the story, her narrative clumsiness kept shoving me back onto the page. 

The main character is pushed around by the unfolding action around her, is constantly protected by her hot bf, and hardly ever (once?) does she so much as make a decision, let alone show real bravery in the entire book. 

When it nearly seems reasonable that the “girl gets the boy”, with a wish the MC redoes the entire adventure to save the boy. For convenience in “getting the boy” at the end of the novel, the author skips ahead to the same conclusions despite removing the shared adventure that got them there.

As a killing blow (for me), the author misuses words and makes up new ones in what I can only assume was mimicry of the jabberwocky poem gone wrong. 

I can’t recommend this book. And frankly, I’m discouraged by the strong favourable reviews on Goodreads. I’ll be reading the entire Kirkus review and not trusting them excerpted only. Hopefully, my February review won’t be nearly as disparaging.