Author: Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/Fantasy
Age: 12+ YA
I picked this book up at one of my local libraries (not the one I work for) & I saw it on the new book shelf & was instantly drawn to it. The catch phrase on the front is, this is not the Neverland that you know, & it sure isn’t!
The story starts off with a teenage girl named Gwendolyn, her best friend Olivia, & Gwen’s mother moving to London. Gwen & her mother move around a lot because of “monsters” that her mother claims are chasing them. Gwen thinks that her mother is crazy but she plays along to keep them all sane. Olivia will be going back home after the summer is over & Gwen is all settled in.
The group move into a dingy little house with an upstairs two bedroom flat. It only takes a matter of minutes for Gwen’s mother to be put off by something in the house & be fearful of the monsters. There is a painting of a group of fairies in one of the bedrooms that is unsettling, but what could possibly be wrong with a painting, after all Gwen’s mother is an artist. But her fears are confirmed later that night when Gwen & Olivia are asleep, the lamp in their room that the landlord said must never go out is dark. It’s then that the real darkness is upon them in the form of dark, shadowy, flying creatures.
Gwen is swept away from London in the hands of the monsters her mother was always afraid of. After being attacked midflight Gwen wakes up on the deck of a ship in a strange land with a group of boys. The boys are being led by none other than Captain Hook himself who is unlike the Captain we are accustomed to in the original story. This Captain is named Rowan & he is the same age as Gwen. Gwen is desperate to get away from the Captain & get back home, out of this nightmare of a fairytale.
It isn’t long before Peter Pan makes an appearance & comes to rescue Gwen from the evil sea Captain. But is the young boy who goes by Pan really the hero of the story?
Gwen learns that Pan has her friend Olivia who was also taken by the monsters called the Dark Ones. Pan & his gang of lost boys hide out in their fortress away from the evil Captain Hook, the Dark Ones, & the mystery that is the island of Neverland. The island has become increasingly unstable ever since the Queen of the Fey that inhabit the island was locked away after she attempted to defeat the Dark Ones & their King. Pan is set on using Gwen to find the Queen & free her so he can be reunited with his mother & stabilize the island. But Pan isn’t telling Gwen the whole story…
Throughout the rest of the story Gwen & Rowan go romping through the jungle, battle scary creatures, ward off the Dark Ones, outrun Pan & try to help a devious fairy named Fiona on their quest to free the Queen, save Neverland, & get back home.
Gwen must find out the secret of who she really is while saving Rowan & Olivia from the evil of Neverland, can she do it before it’s too late or will all be lost forever?
Likes: This book is NOTHING like the original story or even the various retellings I have read in the past. But its unique plot combined with the original characters we all know make it a thrilling adventure story that is impossible to put down.
I thought I knew where the story was going during the beginning but that quickly changed as the story evolved. I really enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen along the way & being surprised by the ending.
The fantasy of this book takes the story of Peter Pan to a whole new level that we’ve never experienced before. The story mainly focuses on the magical creatures & fey that we don’t see much of usually other than Tinker Bell.
The older than normal characters add an element of romance & virility to the story that has never been captured because they are all normally children.
This is a YA book that has an element of romance to peak your interest without crossing the line into adult themes like sex.