Lost in the Neverwoods – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆  (3.5 / 5 stars)

When she was a child, Wendy disappeared with her brothers, John and Michael.  She returned home on her own, with no recollection of what happened, and with her brothers missing. Years later, disappearances are occurring again, reminiscent of her own disappearance. But when a mysterious boy seems to fall from the sky and land on her truck, she wrapped up in a story that she used thing was a fairy tale.  

In this retelling of Peter Pan, we are reintroduced to Wendy Darling – now eighteen – who has been suffering from anxiety and depression due to a gap in her memory. Her brothers have been missing for five years, and she doesn’t remember why! Of course, her name says to the reader everything: she and brothers went to Neverland. But what happened to them? That’s the question that weighs on her mind…constantly.  

The excitement begins almost right away with Peter Pan’s arrival. Of course, Wendy doesn’t believe it! I think her disbelief is believable as well. Would you believe that Peter Pan existed? But soon, she grows to trust Peter. 

I wish I could say they went on a wild adventure though. Instead, most of the story takes place with her internal monologue while she tries to decide if she’s going crazy. Sixty percent of the way into the book, I realized…nothing much had happened. They chased Peter’s shadow, Wendy was interrogated by cops, and more kids went missing. That was about it. The story did pick up around the 70% mark, but by then I felt like I was just reading the book to finish it.  

In addition, Wendy’s romance with Peter is a little odd. Peter is aging fast. When she first runs into him again, he’s probably about 13. But, due to his loss of magic, he ends up being Wendy’s age by the middle of the book. Yes, Wendy and Peter always seemed to have some sort of romantic connection (in the original stories and in retellings) but this switch in age lingers in the air a bit. Is Peter immortal? Yes. But he still acts like a child…and that’s a little odd. If he had started aging when he first met Wendy, then it might have been a bit different. But he aged in such a short period of time that it felt strange. 

Yet, the story is still wonderfully written. Aiden Thomas knows how to paint a picture and tug at emotions. I have Aiden’s book, Cemetery Boys, on my TBR list…and that won’t be changing. The words captivated me…and that’s really all I could ask for in a retelling of Peter Pan. 

Overall, the story is still a wonderful read. I especially liked the symbolism in Peter’s role and I think Thomas handled that quite well. I just was hoping for a little bit more adventure…but perhaps that is the point? Growing up sometimes leads you into a forest of confusion and self-reflection. It isn’t always an adventure.  

What’s it about?

When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods. 

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