Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: June 21st, 2016
Series: Never Ever, #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
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:
“And when will each of you turn eighteen?”
Again, they responded at the same time:
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.
This 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!!!