I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Neverland Wars is a YA fantasy written by Audrey Greathouse. The title gives away a rather big clue about what the story is really about, but the plot starts out like so many other YA novels. Gwen is an average girl in an average town. She goes to high school, interacts with her friends, and she even has a crush on a boy.
But all that changes when Gwen’s little sister Rosemary is kidnapped. Her parents are forced to admit that magic is a very real and very dangerous force. As they worry about when Rose will come home, Gwen comes face-to-face with the kidnapper- the infamous Peter Pan.
Gwen accompanies Peter back to Neverland, where she assumes the role of storyteller. As she adjusts to life on the island, she feels a sense of unease about her purpose and her future. Is this where she is supposed to be or does she belong back in her own home? And what will happen if the “real” world catches up with them?
I enjoyed reading The Neverland Wars. I have not read very many alternative Peter Pan stories, but it is always interesting to see new perspectives on “the boy who never grew up”. Greathouse’s Peter is a bit of an enigma; he is cocksure and scornful like the original Peter, but he is also pensive and will withdraw from the group. He quickly corrects Gwen when she refers to them (she and Peter) as not being children, but he also appears older than Gwen expected him to be. I also appreciated the inclusion of some of the minor characters who share a history with Peter; the convergence made sense, and added a layer of depth to the history.
I would recommend The Neverland Wars to fans of Peter Pan stories and YA fantasy. This is the first book in a planned series, and the story ends on an uncertain note. Neverland’s fate remains uncertain; naturally Peter and the Lost Children will do anything to protect their idyllic paradise, but Gwen needs to decide what she wants from life. It would have been easier to deny the existence of magic if she had not been exposed to it, but now that she has experienced what Neverland has to offer, what will she do? I am looking forward to finding out what will happen next!