Lost in the Never Woods is a dark Peter Pan retelling. The story takes place in the contemporary world, but with dark elements of fairy-tale magic. Wendy Darling thought the mystery of her younger brothers’ disappearance would never be solved. But five years after her brothers disappear more children go missing from Wendy’s town. When Peter Pan shows up – someone Wendy thought only existed in her stories – Wendy must help him rescue the missing children. This was a mysterious, atmospheric story, but the biggest strength of this book was how it portrayed trauma. Wendy dealt with panic attacks, grief, and lost memories in a way that felt very real. Both Wendy’s mind and her body were trying to deal with what she had witnessed, and the author didn’t downplay that. There was also plenty of character development, and both Wendy and the secondary characters felt like real, conflicted people.
Unfortunately, the pacing and the plot had problems. The book was very, very slow. For most of the book, nothing really happens; it’s about Wendy trying to deal with her grief, and there’s very little action. While this allows for plenty of character development, it felt overdone and even boring at times. In addition, the plot often felt formulaic and predictable. Overall, Lost in the Never Woods is a character-driven story dealing with grief and trauma that is simply ok. No prior knowledge of Peter Pan is required to enjoy the story.
Profanity/Language: 11 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 4 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: Mention of a character accidentally shooting off a friend’s toe; young children go missing; a character jumps onto and damages a moving car; an injured character is found lying on a road; a character panics in a hospital and is given a sedative; character frequently thinks about siblings who have been missing for years; character experiences trauma from an unremembered incident; character punches another; brief creepy scene where a screaming child is abducted by a magical force; characters are attacked by a magical force, somewhat creepy; character shows up with minor injuries; character is attacked by a magical force; child witnesses a trusted adult shoot siblings dead accidentally; children are held captive; character is physically restrained and attacked with magic; multi-page scene where characters are attacked by a magical force
Sex/Nudity: Character asks if other characters are dating; male character takes off shirt to go swimming, female character is attracted to him with short description; character frequently thinks another character is physically attractive; female character thinks about a male character being naked, no detail; character touches another’s face; characters hold hands; character touches another’s face, characters kiss; two instances where characters kiss.
Mature Subject Matter:
Panic attacks; missing children; kidnapping; trauma; depression/grief; death of siblings.
Mentions of beer bottles belonging to a character who frequently drinks; a character is very drunk; mentions of drinking.