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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Something sinister waits within the trees . . . 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 the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road . . . Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods. 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.…

Lost in the Never Woods

by Aiden Thomas

Overall Book Review:

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.

Content Analysis:

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.

Alcohol/Drug Use:

Mentions of beer bottles belonging to a character who frequently drinks; a character is very drunk; mentions of drinking.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.