Why is Neverland Full of Hippies?: Never Ever by Sara Saedi

22840374Publisher: Viking Books

Publication Date: June 21st, 2016

Series: Never Ever, #1

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 2/5

Never Ever is a contemporary re-telling of Peter Pan. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take this book seriously, and me not liking something Peter Pan-related is just unheard of. It goes against the very core of my being.

“How old are you guys?” Phinn asked the rest of the party. They answered in unison:
“Seventeen.”
“And when will each of you turn eighteen?”
Again, they responded at the same time:
“Never.”

The night before her brother is to go to juvie, Wylie meets the irresistible (insert eye roll) Phinn, who shows her how to fly and then whisks her and her brothers off to Minor Island, offering them a life free of grown-up responsibility and full of endless parties. However, as the residents begin to disappear one by one, and fearing for her safety, Wylie slowly begins to unravel a darker side of Minor Island.

IMG_0684This photo is my facial reaction to this book, and as you can see, it’s not a pretty picture.

I couldn’t take this book seriously, starting with the character’s names. What kind of name is Wylie? Why not just call her Wendy or Winnie or something cute? I hate this name. I hate the way it rolls off my tongue. And who the heck spells Finn like Phinn? Is this real?! Someone please tell me this isn’t real.

And I could not stand Wylie herself. Everyone keeps saying how smart she is, but she doesn’t do anything to convince me of her intelligence. She goes off with a boy she doesn’t know, she partakes of what he gives her (which she suspects are drugs), and gets drunk when she’s the designated driver. I mean, I know smart people make bad decisions, but isn’t she supposed to be the intelligent, mature one? As far as I can tell, all evidence points to the contrary. Character inconsistencies such as these draw me out of the story because I can’t reconcile or fit them together.

In fact, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly endearing or relatable.

Furthermore, I wasn’t crazy about the depiction of Minor Island, aka Neverland. It wasn’t whimsical or fun. And a lot of environmentalism was spewed at me in the meantime. Just to disclaim, I am all for conservation and respecting the earth. But it felt like too much of an agenda to me.

The book had potential in some of the issues that are tied in with the story. Divorce, family bonds, mistrust, feminism, underage drinking, even the conservationism. But the surface was barely scratched. What could’ve been further explored and added more raw emotion to the story was skimmed over. The topics are simply thrown in to move the story along as opposed to being true driving forces. As a result, it felt cliched.

“Never forget to live life to the fullest.
Do it for the troubled; do it for the lost.
The days may feel shorter; the nights may feel long.
But when we remember, our memories grow strong.”

 

The book felt tired to me. I didn’t feel that there was anything particularly new or invigorating about this retelling. Modern Peter Pan? Done. Romance between Peter and Wendy? Done. Spoilers, which I won’t outrightly reveal? Done.

To be fair, there was one interesting plot twist that I didn’t see coming towards the end. That was the saving grace of the novel for me. It, and it alone, was compelling enough that I will read the sequel.

All in all, I know many other die-hard Peter Pan fans are gobbling this book up. Unfortunately, I’m just not one of them. We’ll see what happens when the sequel is released.

Tootle loo, darlings! Don’t forget to tune in later this week for a discussion on Ophelia and for a review/giveaway of the Chronicles of Alice duology. I finished it up this weekend, and it was amazing!!!

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10 thoughts on “Why is Neverland Full of Hippies?: Never Ever by Sara Saedi

  1. Personally, I’ve never been one for the traditional (i.e. the Disney adaptation of the original play) tellings of Peter Pan, since the message of “not wanting to grow up” comes across as being selfish, self-centered, and not caring about how individual choices may affect others. The whole point of the play was that growing up can be scary, but learning to face it – while not losing the innocence and the faith of childhood – is important. This book sounds like it’s capitalizing on the former idea. Bleh. Don’t blame you for not liking it.

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  2. First off love your title. Second I want those fox ears. So freaking cute!

    Okay I don’t get the love for Peter Pan. It wasn’t my favorite movie or book growing. Peter just came off as creepy. Beyond that many of the Peter Pan remakes have been shit. Books and films. So I get why you didn’t love this one.

    Also I hate inconsistencies with character. Yes smart people make mistakes but to divert from her true self so quickly to get drunk and use drugs is just ridiculous. Especially being the smart one.

    I said all that to say I will pass on this book.
    Great Review!

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    1. I got the ears off Etsy! I love the shop so here’s the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheKnotandChain I’m waiting for my next paycheck so I can buy another headband!
      Haha I grew up just loving the original Peter Pan story. I’m fascinated with JM Barrie’s life and have written a ton of papers on it. I get that it’s not for everyone though. There’s really only one adaptation that I’ve liked and it isn’t the Disney one, which I think has turned off a lot of people to the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Going over to etsy now. I love cute things like that.

        Maybe I need to reread the JM Barrie version again. Been so long. I might get a different perspective about Peter Pan. Cause the cartoons and the movie remakes aren’t doing it for me.

        Same goes with Alice in Wonderland.

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  3. Maybe the guy’s full name is Phineas? Though you read the book, so I’m going to assume you know more about it than I do. 😛

    I don’t love Peter Pan in general (I know, gasp!), but I agree this sounds a bit ridiculous. I also don’t really like the idea of it as YA book. The idea that everyone is 17 and *just* on the verge of adulthood doesn’t really work the same for me. I mean, there’s not actually really a difference, besides legally, between being 17 and being 18. The point of Peter Pan is that the children are, well, children and not even close to being adults. There’s childhood innocence being clung to. (Who didn’t kind of want to always remain a child with little to do besides some schoolwork and play?) Being 17 just doesn’t even sound idyllic to me.

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  4. Thanks for reading my book! Sorry you didn’t respond to it, but I appreciate the review and the thoughtful feedback. Somehow I doubt you’ll like book two, but I’ll take your notes into consideration!

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