Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas (384 pages)
Aiden Thomas Brings Dark Shadows to Life in Lost in the Never Woods
When children begin to go missing, the dark reminder of what happened to Wendy and her brothers starts to creep back into her life. Five years ago, Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, and only Wendy came back. The holes in her memory of what happened to her brothers continuously plague Wendy, causing her to feel utterly useless. And with all eyes on her in the wake of the missing kids, Wendy is at a complete loss.
One night, as she tries to escape the tragic reminders of her missing brothers, she almost runs over an unconscious boy in the middle of the road. And just like clockwork, the magical Peter Pan catapults himself back into Wendy’s life. Peter tells Wendy that in order to find the missing kids, they must work together to bring down ominous forces that intend to do a lot of damage to her small town. In a crazy turn of events, Wendy finds herself teaming up with the boy she believed to only exist in her stories to bring down a sinister shadow and save the missing children. What could go wrong?
A Magical Story That Shows the Highs and Lows of Pushing Through Grief
Lost in the Never Woods is a Peter Pan retelling that isn’t afraid to demonstrate the effects grief has on a person. Wendy Darling and her parents went through a tragic event with the loss of her two little brothers. Throughout the story, we see how each family member goes about their day with the looming memories of lost loved ones. Aiden Thomas has a way of making the reader genuinely empathize with the characters and isn’t afraid to show the raw effects of grief. Wendy experiences guilt, shame, and heartache over the loss of her brothers, but we also see her power through these heavy emotions.
Aiden Thomas does an excellent job balancing the light and the dark with this tale as they stay true to the classic tale we all know and love. Peter is the embodiment of what is happy and bright in this world, and his light opens a door for Wendy. I found Wendy and Peter to be, quite literally, the dream team as they searched for clues and braved the terrifying forest. Their dynamic made the story a fun yet gripping read with Wendy’s hesitancy and Peter’s vitality. As I read, I felt a certain warmth towards Peter, and I think that’s exactly what Wendy felt too. Sometimes it’s hard to feel that comfort with a character, but Thomas nailed it when writing Peter.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Lost in the Never Woods tells us a story of how grief and resilience challenge your emotions every day. Wendy Darling shows us that no matter what tragedy we’ve experienced, we have the strength to come out stronger. Peter tells the readers never to lose hope and that it’s okay to let yourself have a little fun sometimes. And on those days that feel like they’re a bit too much, hopefully, we can escape to Neverland for a little while, but with a bit of help and pixie dust, we have the power to step into who we really are.
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Brittany Amalfi is a 20- something- year- old developmental specialist living in Massachusetts where she loves all things New England. Brittany is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing, and working on her young adult fantasy novel. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, working with awesome kiddos, and spending time with friends and family.