Author: Wendy Spinale
Published: May 2016 by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young adult | Fantasy | Fairytale retelling
How I got the book: I downloaded it onto my Kindle
The only way to grow up is to survive.
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.
Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.
Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?
I love a good fairy tale retelling and Peter Pan is my favorite. So, naturally, I have to read all the Peter Pan retellings there are out there.
This was by far the most unique Peter Pan twist I’ve read. Instead of a lost girl or boy finding their way into Neverland, children are all around England orphaned from the war and a deadly disease that took their parents.
We go back and forth between Gwen’s first-person and Hook’s first-person. Gwen is trying to keep her younger brother and sister safe and they’re all trying to survive. Meanwhile, Hook wants his hands on the “cure” for the disease for the Queen who started the war in the first place.
When Gwen’s sister is taken by Hook’s crew, she comes across Pete and the Lost Boys. After a rough start, they decide to help one another out and go after Gwen’s sister and Hook.
This was certainly a different kind of plot than I’m used to reading, especially for a Peter Pan retelling. I enjoyed it though.
I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters. I found Gwen to be annoying at times. She flip-flopped a lot on her decisions and feeling. For a 15-year-old who has parented her younger siblings all the while trying to stay alive, I get why she was iffy at times. Still, there were times when I felt like she played the “I’m only 15” card and sometimes she seemed to play the “I’m older, therefore I’m in charge” card.
Pete was okay. He had a sad backstory, but there wasn’t much feeling behind it. Doc, one of the lost boys, explains Pete’s backstory to Gwen, but that’s about it. It’s just an explanation. Peter mentioned it once or twice to Gwen later on, but again, I couldn’t feel anything for it.
The supporting characters weren’t much better. I didn’t feel like I had enough time with any of them to really feel sorry or happy for them. Due to spoilers, I won’t say much, but I didn’t feel sorry for what happened to Jack or Pyro. I barely knew either one of them, so I didn’t care too much about what happened to them.
Overall, the characters didn’t really do it for me. And, to me, the characters are what makes a story.
The actual story was easy to read and to follow along. Each chapter alternated (for the most part) between Gwen and Hook. So, we knew his motives as well as hers.
Other than that, there wasn’t too much special about the writing. I thought it was pretty simple and straight-forward.
This book was just okay for me. The plot was interesting, but I don’t know if it worked well as a Peter Pan retelling. The characters were a little too bland for me. Also, there’s a quote in the book that’s in the original Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. It’s a wonderful quote, but for some reason that didn’t sit well with me. I feel like if the author wanted to add that in, she should have changed it a bit and made it more her own.
This is the first of a series. I may read the next book, but I don’t know if it would be anytime soon.
Everland by Wendy Spinale gets…
3 out of 5 stars
“Oh, aren’t you cute? It’s absolutely… darling.” –Wendy Spinale, Everland
Buy the book:
*This post contains affiliate links.