Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Never Ever by Sara Saedi

Never Ever by Sara Saedi
Release Date - June 1, 2016
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.

Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.

When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.
Peter Pan and birth control are two things I never thought I would mention together in the same sentence and yet, thanks to Sara Saedi's NEVER EVER, I have reason to. I knew instantly that this was not going to be JM Barrie's take on the boy who wouldn't grow up and that immediately delighted me. I also never thought that I would want a more modernized twist on the Peter Pan lore, but this novel changed my mind. Sarah Saedi has crafted a unique twist on my most beloved childhood tale, and created something entirely her own.

The mark of any great retelling is the ability to have enough recognizable elements of the story you're inspired by while still incorporating your own spin on the story. Sara Saedi accomplishes this by having her characters and setting feel more modern (including possible jail sentences, and cell phones). She made this modernization feel natural to a very timeless story and tied everything together through her descriptive narrative.

The realistic feel to this story may have take some of the magic out of the Peter Pan tale, but this book holds its own kind of magic. The realism of why Wylie and her brothers would go with a stranger, and how they get to the island is something that was a welcome change from the original. The island itself retains the wonder of Neverland while still managing to have a Lord Of The Flies feel to it underneath. This balances the magical elements and keeps the modernized tone of the story feeling unforced.

This version of 'Neverland', called Minor Island, is as hedonistic as it is dangerous. It's a world filled with non-stop parties, magical flowers that give you the ability to fly, and all the freedom young teens could want. It also holds betrayal, and lies. The ageing up of not just Wylie and Phinn allows for a more mature storyline featuring drinking, and alluded to sexytimes. It was an entirely new (for me at least) take on Peter Pan and one I found myself easily falling into.

All the characters we associate with Peter Pan are found within these pages. Versions of Wendy, John, Michael, Tinkerbell, Peter (of course) and who I assume to be this author's take on Captain Hook are all present and accounted for. I loved (or loved to hate) each of these characters by the end of the book and for various reasons. They are given surprising depth, even Phinn who seems nothing more than an elusive mystery at first, becomes much more fleshed out by the end of the novel. Wylie is intelligent and headstrong. Tinka is hot tempered, dramatic and my have quickly become my favourite character because of her flawed nature. Each of these characters retains qualities of the originals while being entirely their own creation. Tink's jealousy manifests itself in Tinka. Wendy's curiosity is found within Wylie. Peter's charm and arrogance are found within Phinn. It allows fans of the original to already care about these characters, but I believe even non fans will love both the story and the characters.

The Dalton parents play a surprisingly complex part in this story. I've always felt that the 'Darling' parents were nothing more than an afterthought in the story and Sara Saedi wisely shows us the grief, and regret these two characters experience. She ties them into the story in impressive ways that create thrilling avenues for the story to explore.

I did not know this was a trilogy going into this novel or even that there would be a sequel of any kind. I was delighted to discover that this story was only the beginning of Wylie's journey. Sara Saedi has set up the sequels nicely and has taken the story into directions that have me fangirling over what is to come.

One of the most unique twists on the classic Peter Pan tale that I've had the pleasure to read. I am eager to follow Wylie, and her brothers on the rest of their journey through their version of Neverland. If you love fairytale retellings, particularly those that take huge liberties with the source material, this is one you will not want to miss.

1 comment:

  1. I think you just convinced me to read this book. I was on the fence after I read Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell, that I didn't like too much BUT THIS SOUNDS SO UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL! It's awesome that the author made it extremely modern and I can't wait!!

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/


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