From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a familiar story with a dark hook—a tale about Peter Pan and the friend who became his nemesis, a nemesis who may not be the blackhearted villain Peter says he is…
There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.
This is the best kind of adventure story–just what you’d expect from a Peter Pan retelling–pirates and mermaids and naughty little boys. But those naughty little boys follow a sort of Lord of the Flies society, where only the strongest survive, and Peter is king.
Not everything is pixie dust in Neverland.
In fact, this is a story about abuse, emotional and physical, and the horrible cycle of gaslighting. Jamie slowly realizes how dismal his situation is, but how does he get himself and everyone else, off the island?
I’m pretty sure my eyes just got bigger and bigger as I was reading this. Christina Henry turned a children’s story (though, to be fair, the real Peter Pan is kind of a dark character to begin with) into an intensely deep metaphor for real life domestic violence. THIS IS NOT A DISNEY STORY. There is magic at play, but it is dark dark magic.
I think my favorite part about this book was the hidden meanings everywhere. Pay attention when Peter talks about playing. It’s innocent at the beginning, but he really starts to get twisty as the book goes on. I won’t spoil anything else, but this is a story you really want to focus between the the lines, and not just dabble on the surface. You’re going to get lost in Neverland. Just make sure you know how to get back out again.
NetGalley and Berkley Books provided this ARC for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.