Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas, Can be read in a few nights depending on your speed, Young Adult
“A person can stand right in front of you and be dangerous without even knowing it.”~Peter, p. 84
I do not like Peter Pan. Really, I find him in sufferable. But, something about Lost in the Never Woods intrigued me. I liked the idea of telling the story from Wendy’s perspective. I liked the idea of turning the usual Peter Pan story into something darker and more mysterious. When you put it all together, this is a version of the Peter Pan story I found fascinating and actually enjoyed. And I only found Peter to be insufferable about 5% of the time!
In this retelling, we meet Wendy in the summer between high school and college. It has been five years she and her brothers disappeared. While she returned after 6 months, her brothers did not. Even worse? She can’t remember anything from that time period so can’t provide any useful information in the search for her brothers. Now, children are missing again and it feels eerily similar to when she and her brothers disappeared.
Enter Peter Pan. He is in desperate need of Wendy’s help, though, when she learns of the mission, she’s skeptical she can help at all (and even more skeptical that he actually is who he says he is). But her grief still holds her (and her family) tight. And, by some miracle, her memories might be slowly returning. What unfolds is a story that is part mystery and part coming of age with a wonderful spooky (but not scary) twist. It was a really great read for October.
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. I really appreciated the way Thomas reframed the original story for a more mature audience. Some of the reveals, like what happened to Wendy’s brothers and Peter Pan’s true purpose, were really well done. Peter’s reveal actually made me appreciate the original stories in a different light and I wonder if I would have enjoyed them more if that was how the originals were framed, too.
A very pleasant surprise was how Thomas brilliantly wove in the impact of trauma on not just the person who experienced it, but also those around them. Wendy’s (and her brother’s) disappearance seems to have impacted many around her and Thomas does a nice job showing how friends and family react differently based on their relationship with the main character. He also does a good job of showing how grief hits people differently. Both are nice character points that really sell the story.
So, if you need one last book for spooky season, give this one a read!