- Page Count: 302
- Release Date: May 9, 2016
- My Rating: 2 stars
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
Never have I ever laughed so hard the entire way through a book. This book gets an extra star just for the sheer entertainment factor.
Peter Pan is one of my favorite fairy tales and this just brutally massacred it. My summary is long but makes more sense than the book, so bear with me here while I try to stop cracking up:
The story starts out with a teenage Gwen being super apathetic about everything in her life. She’s “blind to the glamor” her friends see in adult life, doesn’t like their music, can’t bother with makeup or hair
or a personality, and generally doesn’t think it’s worth it to grow up. She explains to her sister that hormones are like “tiny bugs that start changing how you feel about everything and infect you with grownupness.” So there could be some potential for character growth or something here, but we’ve got MUCH more entertaining directions to go in with this story.
Gwen goes to school for a few pages to establish that she has a crush on the homecoming king Jay Hoek, who you’d thinkwould factor into the story as James Hook, but no… not particularly. Then Gwen’s little sister Rosemary is abducted out of her bedroom window and the police are all “there’s only one offender who fits this modus operandi.” It’s quickly decided that Peter Pan obviously did it because of the father’s line of work in economics for the national debt department. Suddenly nobody’s very concerned about the missing child and instead the next chapter is devoted to explaining to Gwen how Peter Pan & magic are real and adults are keeping it a secret. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS WERID.
Basically, there’s a limited supply of magic that runs our world and only adults know how to use this wisely. Science is just starting to understand how cell phones run on magic, satellites are a lie, and the US economy is obviously run on magic because “we’re more than $18 trillion in debt. Don’t you think it’s a little odd that a country so beyond bankruptcy continues to function and prosper?” (The political science major in me has a LOT to say on this bs way to suck the fun out of the story but we’ll not even go there). The general conclusion on the missing sister is left at “well if Rosemary’s with Peter Pan, how bad could it be?” because he’s not a pedophile.
Then suddenly Peter Pan, who is “at least 14” and evidently encountered some of those damn hormones, is in Gwen’s room whisking her off to Neverland to tell stories. The next 60% of the book is a bunch of tedious Neverland nonsense… lots of asexual mermaids and eating stars and story time with fairies named Dillweed. Gwen seems like she’s 12 instead of 16. Peter calls her a dumb girl and implies she’s incompetent. She agrees. There’s some kind of war going on over magic between reality and Neverland, but it’s only fuzzily explained here and there. At the 70% mark they hide from a random bombing attack that really didn’t fit the story’s tone aaaand then go back to more tedious nonsense.
At 90% the story decides it should probably do something eventually, so Gwen goes back to reality to Jay Hoek’s homecoming party. Dillweed the fairy comes with and gets so drunk on cherry-flavored vodka that he blacks out, but Peter Pan shows up and is all “I do believe in fairies!” to wake him up. (Idk where the plot even is at this point). Gwen kisses Jay and talks to some friends whom the reader neither knows nor cares about. In the last few pages when the cops show up to bust the party, some shadow swoops in and attacks Peter Pan & Gwen. Peter asks her to decide between Neverland or reality (and I think the shadow went under the door after getting stabbed by a shadow knife?? The writing here is like throwing paint at a canvas and hoping something sticks). So Gwen flies out the window with Peter Pan “lost in the magical impossibility of the night.” The end.
What did I just read. IS THIS PART OF A SERIES? DID THE AUTHOR JUST GIVE UP MID-THOUGHT WHEN EVERYTHING FELL APART?! I don’t know. I honestly can’t tell if there are any plot points left to address because I’m not sure what they ever were.
And I had a review copy, so this might have been corrected by the time it was published, but sentences like “it is an inescapable truth that eEvery fairy in Neverland wasis terribly afflicted terribly with one vice” made me wonder if this whole thing was just a first draft.
The writing is decent enough, so I’d still recommend this book if you get a kick out of watching stories fall apart in the most absurd ways (because sometimes when the writing is ok then it’s just fun). I feel bad only saying negative stuff, so… I did like the cover! That was very pretty.
Otherwise, see my notes for more comments.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!