Book Review: Saving Neverland

Title: Saving Neverland

Written by: Abi Elphinstone

Illustrated by: Geraldine Rodriguez

Published by: Penguin Books

Saving Neverland is another exciting adventure based on Peter Pan by J M Barrie with the added addition of an excellent range of stunning illustrations by Geraldine Rodriguez. The main character is ten-year-old, Martha Pennydrop. She has recently moved to Number 14 Darlington Road with her younger brother, Scruff and their over-worked father. Their mother left to go backpacking in Thailand never to return. Nana has been replaced by Fluffington the nonchalant cat and Scruff does not go anywhere without his trusty teddy None-the-Wiser. Martha has taken on parental responsibility in an effort to grow-up after the ‘Terrible Day’ six months ago. She has even relegated her favourite toy, Armageddon, a large woolly mammoth shaped beanbag, to the attic.

Beautifully written Saving Neverland hooks you into the up-and-coming adventure from the start. Their exploits are cleverly foreshadowed by the discovery of some mysterious gold dust in the bottom of the bedside drawer in their shared room. That night Peter Pan returns through their bedroom window needing the children’s help. He believes only Martha and Scruff can save magic from the icy grip of a dreadful curse cast by Captain Hook. Martha is our reluctant hero but when Scruff is kidnapped she realises she must rediscover all the imagination, magic and belief she has buried deep inside herself for so long to save her brother – and Neverland.

It is a superb contribution to all previous Peter Pan stories and sagas, complimenting the books and movies perfectly. Abi Elphinstone has obviously done a lot of research as it met all my hopes and expectations for a novel based on the incredible world of Peter Pan with some brilliant imaginative twists. She has created a fantastic cast of well-rounded and believable new characters, including new Lost boys and even a new Fairy called Muddle.

I particularly like the way Peter Pan has been kept in character from the original book in that he is as arrogant as ever and there is still the underlying theme of the transition from childhood to adulthood. I also loved the complete move away from the gender stereotypes of the original novel written in 1911. It made my laugh out loud when Martha puts Peter in his place when he expects her to resume the duties Wendy used to do.

Saving Neverland will draw you back into the magical world you remember reading as a child. I recommend this book to all Peter Pan fans. It is a great addition to the permanent bookshelf. I can see Saving Neverland and this ingenious quest becoming a new Peter Pan movie.

I have previously reviewed this book on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon.

You can buy copies of Saving Neverland by Abi Elphinstone from your local bookshop, or online at uk.bookshop.org.

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