Straight On Till Morning: A Twisted Tale #8
Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling's life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess—it all makes her wish things could be different.
Wendy's only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.
So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn't quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.
But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it's up to the two of them to save Peter Pan—and his world.
Disney fans will feel like they’ve picked up the original Pan story where it left off in this reimagined version that answers the question; What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland…with Captain Hook?
The author does a brilliant job capturing the nostalgia of the Neverland we know, while spinning a fresh tale with a feisty Wendy Darling who only wants to have an adventure and doesn’t understand the limitations of her life as a girl in historic London. She’s smart, imaginative, and determined to forge her own future. When her parents decide to send her to Ireland to work as a governess, she makes a desperate choice that will lead her to Neverland—a place she only knows from her imagination.
That’s where the author lost me for a little while. For two-thirds of the story I could not figure out how Wendy knew about Neverland or how she managed to get Peter’s shadow if she’d never actually met him or visited Neverland before. I finally figured it out when those things were explained much later on. However, I do think I would have gotten into the story sooner if these things were a bit clearer from the beginning. (It also drove me bonkers that the chapters weren't numbered!)
Despite those few issues, the story and characters were engaging and I particularly enjoyed the blossoming friendship between Tink and Wendy. I loved how the author took the traditional relationship of two female characters who didn’t like each other because they both liked the same boy and turned them into women who uplift each other and work together to solve a problem.
The ending was the best thing about the book. I loved seeing Wendy go after her dreams and not let the conventions of the day hold her back. Fans of the series will enjoy this trip back to Neverland, while those new to the series, like me, will be super stoked to have nine more books to look forward to.