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Never by Jesse Hastings Book Review

Give me all the Peter Pan retellings, I will read them and possibly love them all. With that being said I might be totally biased because

  1. I love Peter Pan

  2. I also love Jessa Hastings

So take my review with a grain of salt (or pixie dust) because Goodreads reviews are TERRIBLE for this book... but I loved it....

Never was such a unique retelling. It continues the destiny of all the Darling girls, whenever they reach a certain age a boy that flies comes to sweep them away to take them to Neverland. However, Daphne (insert other names here) Darling is almost 18 and her time hasn't arrived. Wendy (I got so nostalgic here) and all the others before her are worried Peter has died or worse GROWN UP. But a few months before her birthday he comes as expected, only he has grown a bit more and is not the boy the other Darling woman remember.

Daphne, following the path that was meant for her, follows him to Neverland only for him to forget about her as soon as they land. She finds herself being rescued by Jamison Hook!!!!

The retelling is basically the story of the grandkids of the original characters, and we get to explore things like family ties and responsabilities. What is expected of Daphne vs what she wants. What she believes she is to follow vs the destiny that is really hers.

As the book unfolds, we do not find the Peter we all grew to love. Instead, he is a liar and a cheater who blames his acts of forgetfullness but it is blatent child and narcissist behavior. Many reviews I read hated this, but I think imo it was the whole point. Peter Pan is NOT a likeable character yet the toxicity and drawl to him was so beautiful conveyed through Daphne's confusion. She knew he was not what she expected but she could not make the decision to leave him, and although this is a fantasy I think many of us in the normal world have been in that same position.

Now for Hook, I loved his character. He wasn't perfect either and maybe this book was not placed correctly in terms of genres. It did read at times as a dark romance and it was a bit smuttier than a lot of readers might of expected. But in my eyes it developed a better and more mature story where no one is perfect and all characters were extremely flawed (as Jessa Hastings characters tend to be).

My favorite thing of the book was the hints of the original story and the whismical magical realism way it was written. I can imagine all the scenes so vividly and that is because Jessa Hastings was able to drop us right there in Neverland with her.

I have to mention the "leaving the baggage" scenes with John were some of my FAVORITES. Yes, at times it was a bit repeptitive. But the idea and logic behind it was so well though out and I am still tryign to decifer all the questions the book left me, I don't know if there's a book 2 coming but I am wishing for it so so badly. I understand where the negative comments come from, but I do think everyone should give it a fair chance noting that it is more based on the original Peter Pan not the Disney version.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Genre: magical realism, fantasy, romance, retelling



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