This book was so captivating that I couldn’t put it down! The re-telling has a wonderful depth that explores an iconic character so beautifully. I’ve always loved the tale of Peter Pan. It begins with Abigail, our protagonist, who moves to England to live with her cousin after her parents pass away. Not long after she moved into her new room, Peter Pan pays her a visit through the window. It is Wendy’s old room, you see, and now it’s ruined. They quickly get along despite Abigail’s initial shock that *the* Peter Pan exists. He returns to visit her many nights to teach her how to fly and to talk about every manner of topic, but he refuses to take her back with him. After rescuing her from a guy with bad intentions, Peter relents and takes Abigail to his magical planet. Except it isn’t what it once was. Peter himself has changed from the boy he once was. He admits that he decided to stay in England for a while with Wendy’s granddaughter several years ago. Until he turned eighteen and society pressured him to start acting like a man. Earth wasn’t fun for Peter anymore so he left it behind, but Never Land was never quite the same for him, either. Peter never got over losing Wendy and how she chose to go back to real life and grow up. Seeing her daughter and granddaughter also age took a toll on him. The poor condition of Never Land reflects the darkness that he holds deep within. Losing people we love is a part of growing up and that’s something even he can’t change.
** There’s spoilers ahead, be warned**
This story is quite deep and I was glued to every single page. Abigail and Peter are both hurting from unspeakable loss. He affectionately calls her “Lost Girl” but he himself has always been a lost boy himself. Despite his childish and risky nature, at the core he loves to help people who are hurting. Abigail is a brave girl who desperately wants to feel connection. She breaks Peter’s rule of no touching when she tries to embrace him and he tells her “There’s no going back” so then he fulfills her need to be held. Peter’s character development is excellent and the author portrays the struggle of an eternal boy so well. Eighteen is a strange age to be for anyone, but it’s especially conflicting for Peter Pan.
Delicate in the beginning, Abigail finds her inner strength on this incredible journey. Her presence on Never Land helps it thrive again. Flowers and fresh water return as she explores the world with Peter. She is not afraid to stand up to him when he’s being bull-headed, which is great. They have many arguments, yet their love one another runs deep. I loved how they went to The Chief and got matching arrow tattoos. In Never Land, this is an act that binds them together forever. But when Abigail admits to Peter that she wonders what life might be like if they decided to grow up and make a life together, he questions her loyalty to him. His greatest fear is that she will leave him like Wendy. Wendy left because she wanted a normal life more than she wanted to be with Peter. His struggle was so relateable to me, even as an adult. I know the feeling of not wanting to truly grow up and I respect people who rage against the adult stereotype. For some of us, being loved for who we are is way more important than adjusting ourselves to someone else’s ideal. Peter is true to himself and he needs to be loved for who he is. Just like Abigail. She is enough for him, but she has to decide if he is enough for her.
Abigail is not the scared little girl Peter originally thinks she is. When he is captured by a new crew of pirates, Abigail is determined to save him – and she does with the help of friends from Never Land. Even the mermaids who hate any girl that Peter brings help her out, because at the core they love him. Abigail devises a genius plan with the Indians, fairies, and mermaids and together, they conquer the pirates. She rescues a beaten-up Peter and he finds humour in the fact that a girl is saving him. And that’s just what he loves about her. She’s a different kind of a girl – one who can truly love him.
Peter has a classic sword duel with the ship’s captain, but the fight isn’t just for fun like it used to be with Captain Hooke. Now he’s fighting for Abigail’s life and the island. He defeats the captain easily when one of the pirates reveals himself to be one of the lost boys who grew up and came back. I was happy to meet Finch as a grown up in Never Land.
My heart literally broke when Peter still chose to bring Abigail back to London after their grand adventure, casting a sleep spell on her and leaving her on the doorstep of her cousin’s house. He wanted her to have a normal life where she could grow up and have children, but Abigail had other plans! The moment she woke up, her mind was already considering how she could get back to him. She takes a walk around the area and realizes that anything this world can give her is no match for Peter Pan. Having faith in her flying ability, she climbs up to the roof of a building and flies back to Never Land. I loved this part so much. One, because she had the strength to make her own decision despite the challenges and two, because she really did love Peter. He wasn’t just a temporary adventure for her. She loved Never Land as much as he did.
When she finds Peter in Never Land, she is very angry with him. While he is ecstatic to see her again, he is still in denial that she really wants to stay with him. When a gloomy storm approaches them (Its purpose is to entrap its victim and force them to hear negative statements from the people they love), Peter throws himself inside to save Abigail. Then she goes inside with him. Together, they heal one another’s insecurities, breaking the storm. It is then that he finally believes she won’t leave him.
They find a new lost boy crying in the forest and together they raise him as one of their own. They raise several more lost boys and their house becomes full with kids, including a little girl who Abigail grows to love more than anything. They live happily in their magical world alongside the Indians, mermaids, and pirates who are now led by the kind Finch.
While Peter saved Abigail in the beginning, she was the one who saved him in the end.
The story’s last line made my heart soar: “Some people believe in fate, or destiny, but as for Peter and I, all we ever needed was a little happiness and pixie dust.” Beautiful.