by Shari Arnold Published by CreateSpace
on April 7th, 2015 Genres: Action & Adventure
, Coming of Age
, Love & Romance
, Magical Realism
, Young Adult Format:
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It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound.
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for?
Lets get real, right now, people. I ADORED THIS BOOK. Cancer themes and Peter Pan in the same book? An adventure to Neverland? All of your favorite characters from the Second Star to the Right? A twisty plot with magical realism and SO MANY REFERENCES TO J.M. BARRIE’S WORK, but with so many beautiful touches of originality?
I was sold, and I am still sold.
Excuse me if I can’t write a coherent review, but essentially my mind is:
Half of this book is set in our world, and we meet up with our protagonist, Livy Cloud (cause Wendy and Livy are close enough), as she’s telling stories to sick children in the hospital. Remember, darlings, the original Wendy Darling was always telling stories to Lost boys…this is just one prime example of how Ms. Arnold almost dissects every piece of J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan, making sure to add so many elements and references from the original story, while creating her own world. And the way she does this is masterful, and so, so, unique and precise.
Every detail is accounted for. Every character is woven into the story, and things in Neverland aren’t always as they seem. Adventures happen, whether Livy’s in Neverland or interacting with some of its inhabitants in our world. Specifically, one boy with glittering green eyes and the ability to fly.
“With the soft light of the Market falling upon his features he could be a lost soul who traveled here from another time period. Not just a boy who lives to play games.”
Meyer, our modern Peter Pan, meets Livy and learns of her story: Her sister has died of cancer, and Livy’s putting her life on hold because of the grief. Meyer challenges Livy to have fun and live her life as an adventure, and they begin to bond through all of these new experiences. However, Livy doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does about this boy.
“All around us people are safe behind their windows and doors, their nights centered around the television or a good book, while I stand here, on the roof, holding the hand of a boy who can fly.”
Eventually, they stumble upon Neverland. And Livy learns of truths that are both ugly and beautiful. She has a huge decision to make, and it was in that climactic moment of the novel that I got a few reminders of If I Stay. Since I’m a huge fan of Peter Pan in general, I was caught up in all of the plot twists the author spins, excited for her creative ending.
“This is it, Livy. Our last adventure.” He leans forehead down, resting against mine. “Won’t you take it with me?”
Take the adventure, guys. I invite you to join me in Neverland and re-awaken your dreams of Peter Pan. I’ve never read a book with such a complex perfection of magical realism and fantasy. Shari Arnold’s mind must be as wide as J.K. Rowling’s. Try as I might, I can’t even begin to sing the praises of how precise she is at taking every single detail from Peter Pan and creating a modern spin on it. I’m going to end this review with a nice and simple quote: “To read this book would be an awfully big adventure.”
Please Note: The third picture in the Neverland Collage is credited to Javier Gomez (@shadows_family) on Flickr.