Neverland by Shari Arnold — A Review

Neverland by Shari Arnold neverland cover

Genres: YA; Retellings; Fantasy; Coming of Age (sort of)

Pages: 359

Published: April 7th, 2015

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (For Kindle and Nook, it’s $2.99 at the time of this review!)

Seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her baby sister to leukemia a few months ago, and she isn’t ready to let go and move on. She spends a lot of her time in the children’s hospital where her sister died, reading to and spending time with the children.

When a mysterious boy named Meyer wanders into Livy’s life, she finds herself pulled into his world of adventures and possible danger, with more questions than answers.

I’ve been sitting on this review for hours, trying to articulate how I felt about this book. Let me start by saying that I was actually not a huge fan of Peter Pan, but I am a sucker for re-tellings and re-imagined stories (like this one), so I really wanted to give this a shot.

When I first picked it up, months ago, I couldn’t get through it. I almost gave up on it because it was so hard for me to read. It wasn’t because the writing or story was bad, though. I have a child close to the age of Livy’s sister, and when I read about kids going through awful things, it’s difficult for me. But, I finally managed to push through the first few chapters, and then I was hooked. I literally had to force myself to put this down so I could eat and sleep, and then as soon as I woke up the next day, I didn’t put it down until I finished it.

This book absolutely destroyed me at times, but by the end it had glued the pieces back together, mostly, and I kind of wanted to re-read it right then. I thought the writing was beautiful at times, and wonderfully descriptive. I was there with Livy and Meyer, and everyone else. It was a bit too wordy for my taste during a few parts, but not horrible. I think I was just anxious to find out what was going to happen next.

Things start out a bit slow, but it isn’t a bad, boring kind of slow. It’s that nice kind of slow, where you really get to know the characters better and grow to care for them. Once the pace picked up, I couldn’t read fast enough. (I swear I think I could hear my Kindle grumbling about how quickly I was turning pages.)

There were so many times when I wanted to hold Livy and cry. It was awful to read about her grief, and how her parents were after losing their child. I just wanted to wrap them all in a hug and make their lives better. When you lose someone you love, it feels like your world is ending and Arnold captured that perfectly in her depictions of the Cloud family. Livy really annoyed me a few times in this book because of the way she treated Meyer. It wasn’t justified, or at least not totally. I mean, I get that she was freaked out and dealing with a lot, but she blamed him for things that weren’t entirely his fault. Or not his fault at all, depending on how you look at it.

Meyer, the “Peter Pan” character, drove me crazy at times, with his secrets and vanishing all the time. I’m not quite satisfied with how things ended with him, because I still have so many questions! Grrr! I did like him, I think, but he was definitely frustrating.

The characters in this book were all so distinct and real, and I was kind of wowed by it. Everyone handled situations differently, had their own personalities, and they were all so developed. Even the characters we didn’t spend much time with seemed realistic. I didn’t have a favorite character in this book, though, which is a little strange for me.

I’m still having a difficult time expressing what I thought of this book, but I will say that I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would, and I definitely recommend it if you love Peter Pan, or re-tellings. Just be prepared to have your heart broken.

**Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for providing a copy for review**

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