To seventeen year old Livy Cloud, four months simply isn’t enough time to move on from her younger sister’s death, not even close. She’d rather keep spending her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, keep reading to the patients and holding onto the memories of her dear sister. But fate seems to be telling her to move on; fate brings her the mysterious and illusive Meyer, who draws Livy into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound. Will Livy listen to fate and be brave enough to love again? In this modern retelling of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to the consuming Neverland, or will she find what she’s secretly been searching for?
For all its fantasy, Neverland is actually quite realistic. The author truly gets how to describe Livy’s grief, how to portray death and the so-called afterlife. She paints a stark situation without making it devoid of hope. Additionally, the novel is also slick in its use of Neverland; it functions as an escape, as a place where Livy’s sister is alive again and where Livy can seek solace in the fantastic. It’s a brilliant representation of the illusive unknown, a wondrous reinterpretation of the classic Neverland.
I often judge books on the vibes they give off. Neverland has a whimsical yet grounded air to it, a tense and loose feel to it. (I sincerely hope these oxymorons make sense.) In other words, Shari Arnold perfectly captures the feel of Peter Pan in her novel, the magic that at times seems rooted in reality.
This being said, Neverland has quite a few flaws. The slow pace of the novel is exacerbated by Livy’s annoying and somewhat overbearing personality. Livy doesn’t travel to Neverland until the second half of the book, and by then I was just about to give up on the book. Livy doesn’t develop as a character until she reaches Neverland; before then it’s a never-ending cycle of her attempts at salvation, at saving the lives of others. Not that there’s anything wrong with trying to save lives. It’s just that Livy isn’t affected for the better or the worse by her actions.
Meyer, on the other hand, is the perfect Peter. He’s fun, charming, witty, and even selfless. (Honestly, that ending just about killed me.) I truly enjoyed reading his dialogues because he simply wasn’t boring.
Yeah, my standards have gotten way lower.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Publisher: CreateSpace (April 7th, 2015)
ISBN #: 9781508846482
Length: 358 pages (Paperback)