Sunday, 24 July 2016

Book Review: The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

The Neverland Wars – Audrey Greathouse

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Audrey Greathouse
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
First published: 2016
Edition: eBook (The cover is stunning!)
Pages: 244
Blurb:    (Taken from goodreads)
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.

History of my copy: I received a copy of The Neverland Wars though YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Let it be said now that I’m not too familiar to the tale of Peter Pan. I haven’t even seen the Disney movie (or if I have I can’t remember). My familiarity with the story has literally come from a panto I saw back in 2008 (which starred Emu) and its inclusion in Once Upon A Time. So yep, a pretty much a Neverland newbie over here. That being said, I don’t think that took anything away from the story.

Plot: The Neverland Wars follows Gwen, a typical teenage girl who is caught up in school and crushes and is stuck at that annoying point in life where you’re too old to be a kid and too young to be an adult.
         When her younger sister Rosemary goes missing, she is brought into the secret that Neverland exists, Peter Pan really does take children, and that magic is what makes the adult world go round.
         Joining her sister in Neverland, Gwen is catapulted into a world very different from her reality and is seemingly paradise, until the bombings happen, a shocking reminder that reality and Neverland are at war.
The Neverland Wars ends with Gwen returning home and attending a party, which magic soon invades. In a spur of the moment decision, she finally decides to stick with Peter and see whether she can remain a child forever.

Setting: One thing that really impressed me about The Neverland Wars is Greathouse’s writing style. She captivates the child innocence of each and every character wonderfully, but also recognises that children can be wise beyond their years. On top of this, she has an excellent way of describing the settings – I honestly felt like I was in the paradise of Neverland myself! Although not a new world, she has so wonderfully crafted her own version of Peter’s homeland.

Characters: I really loved Peter in The Neverland Wars. The idea that he has aged a little each time he returned to reality created an interesting point in this retelling, as Peter was now a lot older than the lost kids (rather than boys). Because of this, I couldn’t help but feel that Peter and Gwen should have ended up becoming a little closer, even if just because they were closer in age than they were to anyone else.
               Gwen herself was quite an interesting character too. She was typical in every shape and form, but without trying hard to be so. It was refreshing to actually read an entirely relatable character, and one that portrayed the difficulty of growing up so well.

To read or not to read: Read. I’m not sure if Greathouse is intending to write a sequel, but The Neverland Wars certainly feels part of a series. There are some monumental future-seeing events that hint at future books, and then there is the blatant fact that this book had so little fighting compared to its title. Despite this, I would recommend the story to anyone, especially those who love fairytales. It is fantastic at dealing with adolescence problems and the inevitable process of growing up, so is a great read for any tween not sure where they belong in the world.

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