Forever Neverland

Random. Jun. 2019. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525579267.
Gr 3-7–In this modern-day Peter Pan adventure, siblings Fergus and Clover travel from San Diego to stay with their grandparents in London, while back at home their mother studies for the bar exam. Short chapters alternate between the perspectives of 11-year-old Fergus and his 12-year-old sister Clover, but because both of them spend much of the story feeling stressed, their narrative voices are not always distinguishable from one another. The siblings are warmly welcomed by their twinkling-eyed English grandmother, a descendent of Wendy from the original Peter Pan tale, but get a cold reception from their judgmental and stern grandfather. Clover feels extremely protective of Fergus, who is autistic, and tries to take on a motherly role. Her worries grow when their vacation takes a fantastical pivot and the pair journeys to Neverland with Peter Pan to meet the Lost Boys (and girls). Fergus flourishes in the new carefree environment where his extensive knowledge of mythological gods and goddesses comes in handy. Clover is still struggling to feel comfortable in Neverland when she is captured by a sea monster and forced to form a vocal trio with a couple of mermaids. Allusions to a backstory leave unanswered questions that distract from the text. It is not made clear why Grandfather is disgruntled, or why their mother is the only family member who never adventured with Pan as a child. And though Clover arguably has a positive ending, Fergus gives up his chance for happiness and acceptance for a sense of family obligation.
VERDICT While this fantasy’s premise is interesting, its plot needed to be further developed to form a cohesive tale

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