Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘Lost in the Never Woods’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!
Title: Lost in the Never Woods
Author: Aiden Thomas
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (via Macmillan Website):
When children start to go missing in the local woods, a teen girl must face her fears and a past she can’t remember to rescue them in this atmospheric YA novel, Lost in the Never Woods from the author of Cemetery Boys.
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.
What I liked
Seeing the original elements of the story in a contemporary retelling. I love the original Peter Pan, and I love retellings. So I bet you can guess what one of my favourite parts of this story was. Seeing all the characters I loved, and revisiting the places that felt so familiar, but were also so different, was one of my favourite parts of the novel. Even the little things, like how all the cops were named after pirates in the actual story, were so much fun to notice.
The way grief, trauma, and mental health are addressed. I think a lot of YA goes out of it’s way to pretend like things such as depression, grief and trauma just don’t exist. Which is why it was so wonderful to see the unflinching, and raw portrayal of this through almost all the characters. Through Wendy, we can see the struggles of trauma and grief, and how they can affect and impact your daily actions. This also helped add some depth to the characters, and honestly just made them more relatable.
The friendships. I’m going to try not to spoil anything while talking about the friendships but I loved them. I’m not going to say the romance was my favourite part of the book, but the friendships were just so heartwarming. Seeing Jordan support Wendy, after all she’d been through, and seeing Wendy trust Jordan with everything reduced me to a messy puddle of tears. Jordan and Wendy are 100% friendship goals. Sure, it was frustrating each time they misunderstood each other, or Wendy kept at herself at an arm’s length from Jordan, but each time we saw their bond, I was just 🥺
What wasn’t my cup of tea
The underdeveloped characters. I’m going to come right out and say it. I just felt no emotional connection with the characters. If you asked me to describe Wendy, I would probably just be describing what she’s gone through, not who she is, and it’s the same with all the other characters as well. I think, yes, they were all likeable, and I really enjoyed the story, but for me, none of them were particularly memorable. But again, this is all different for everyone, because I know that Cossette @ Tea Time Lit, loved the characters, so you should definitely check out multiple reviews before reading it!
The pacing. According to me, the pacing was honestly just all over the place. The last 40% of the book was PERFECT. But things before that, and the first 60% was just too slow for me to handle. Nothing really happened before the halfway mark! There was some necessary information given in those first few chapters, but honestly it was just spaced out too much, and the pacing was way too slow for me to handle.
Lost in the Never Woods is a captivating Peter Pan retelling, that had me (captain) hooked* throughout all its twists and turns. Filled with raw and accurate portrayals of loss, grief, and trauma, it’s definitely a read that moved me. Although I loved the friendships, and the elements from the original story, the character development felt flat, and I never felt an emotional connect with any of them. If you enjoyed the original Peter Pan as much as I did, I’m sure you’ll have a ton of fun re-exploring neverland in this contemporary twist on the classic.
*SORRY I COULDN’T RESIST THE PUN ON CAPTAIN HOOK 🙈🤧
About the Author
Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, winning Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies and organizes their bookshelves by colour.
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