Title: Lost in the Never Woods
Author: Aiden Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Themes: Grief, Guilt, Relationships, Courage, Love, Loss
Anticipated Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Thank you to the NetGalley and Swoon Reads for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Lost in the Never Woods.
Five years ago, Wendy was found in the woods with her memory lost and her two brothers, Micheal and John, missing. It has been a trying time for her and her parents, who have no choice to believe that they’ll never see Michael and John ever again.
As Wendy attempts to get home one evening, something drops from the sky and she sees a random boy lying on the road. This boy, Peter, claims they know each other and he has to convince her of his own existence. In the meantime, children keep disappearing and it’s up to Peter and Wendy to find them before it’s too late.
The first thing I noticed about this book was its absolutely gorgeous cover! The color scheme and font choice just drew me in so much that I had to learn more about this book. Then when I learned that it involves the story of Peter Pan, I was hooked.
One of the aspects that I loved most about the story is how much darker this telling of Peter Pan is. It gives the classic children’s story a twist and even it seemed a bit unnerving at times. Though I will say that even with its moments of darkness, there is also some lighter moments that helps readers care and understand the characters.
Descriptions provided of the protagonists, Wendy and Peter, were beautifully done. Not just physical, but their emotional states and their personalities. I loved each one for different reasons and was rooting for their friendship. Wendy is a responsible and independent young woman that had to finish her teen years on her own since her parents weren’t always mentally present. This made her strong, yet also left with feelings of guilt and loss due to her missing brothers. Peter is a kind and brave young man who wants nothing more than to help anyone everyone that he can. Sometimes, the burden of being the shining light for everyone may seem to be too much for some, but Peter thrives on the joy he brings to others.
There is some romance here, but it is more young first love type of romance. All the scenes where some flirtation would occur or a moment of love would happen, they were sweet and innocent. With every slightly romantic scene, I felt the butterflies that the characters were feeling and when the love or touch was reciprocated, my heart leapt for joy. To have these emotions while reading any book deserves some praise!
Themes of grief and loss is very much real in this novel. These relatable themes are woven throughout the text extremely well and are shown through the emotions the characters feel. Being told in Wendy’s perspective, readers understand her feelings more completely, but Wendy does a wonderful job in describing other characters emotions, too, specifically Peter.
If there is a place where I find needs improvement is some scenes that were unnecessarily descriptive or places in the text where the characters seemed too joyous at times. Yes, I love when I can visualize what is occurring in the text and appreciate not having to guess what is happening; however, describing french fries, for instance, isn’t really necessary. Then, there were moments when Wendy and Peter would be laughing and act silly when there were children’s lives at risk. Especially since Peter takes care of lost children, Wendy’s own brothers have been missing, and children that Wendy knows keep disappearing, these scenes seemed out of place. Perhaps the intention is to lighten the mood, but it just didn’t seem natural.
The ending was very much to my liking. It seemed fitting and not rushed, which I completely appreciated. It wrapped of this version of Peter Pan well.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see what else Aiden Thomas has in store!
For those who have enjoyed Peter Pan and would like to read a story that takes it a step farther, a darker step farther, with some romance, then this is a read for you!