Saedi, Sara Never Ever, 320 pages. Viking (Penguin Random House), 2016. $17.99. Content: Language: PG-13 (2 swears, 0 “f”) Mature Content: R Violence: PG.
It’s Wylie Dalton’s 17th birthday and her life is a mess. Her parents are in the midst of a divorce leaving the family in turmoil. Instead of going to her family birthday dinner and spending the last night together as a family before her brother Joshua is sent to juvie, Wylie and her brothers sneak out of the house and go to a rooftop party. There she meets Phinn Moonlight, where there’s instant attraction between the two. By eating a parvaz flower Wylie and her siblings are given the ability to fly. The three are finally convinced by Phinn to go to Minor Island, a place that he claims would fix all their problems. They discover an island where no one ages beyond seventeen. There are no parents or police officers telling them what to do. It seems like paradise.
But then there’s talk of Hopper and the forbidden side of the island. And Wylie learns about the lost kids, who went out camping one night and never came back. Everyone seems to idolize Phinn, never questioning any of his policies or decisions. But when Wylie starts standing up to him, she learns that he doesn’t like it when people challenge him. Maybe Minor Island isn’t really paradise after all.
This is a modern retelling of Peter Pan and the first of its kind that I’ve read. I found it to be an engrossing read and enjoyed the unexpected plot twists. Although the Peter Pan theme of the book may interest younger readers, the content is targeted toward an older audience (underage drinking, drug references, birth control and sexual relationships). This is author Sara Saedi’s first book, but there’s a sequel in the works, which I am looking forward to reading.
HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Nancy W.