The Neverland Wars
by Audrey Greathouse
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Fairytale Retelling
Release Date: May 9th 2016
Clean Teen Publishing
Summary from Goodreads:
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
“The last of them were Captain Rackham’s crew,” Peter began. “They flew the skull and stars flag high on their mast, sailing a great flagship called the Black Death. It was a massive ship, with a hundred or more pirates all aboard it!”
“Maybe only a dozen,” Peter amended. He continued, undaunted. “They swore that there was booty buried in our jungle, a chest, buried by the oldest of pirates, old Scarface himself, who was more like a god than a man to all the pirates who came after him. Rackham and his crew swore to find the rumored treasure.
“They sailed three times ‘round Neverland clockwise, and twice counter-clockwise while they tried to make sense of their map. Finally, they came ashore and stormed the island. They found Blink and took her hostage, you know. They were convinced she knew where the treasure was buried.”
Bard delicately nibbled on the peeled apple, watching Peter like a movie as he bounded around their underground home. Spurt was still asleep in his little dog bed, but the other children were waking up, happy to start the morning with one of Peter’s stories. After a while, everyone but Spurt was awake and eagerly listening.
Hollyhock bounced up and down, adding her own commentary, seemingly for the sake of hearing her own singsong voice. Bramble listened, sleepy but attentive, to Hollyhock’s version, while Peter related the story to the children. Peter told it exactly as he remembered it, so very little of what Gwen heard was true. Still, he got the feel of the story right, and that was what was really important.
“So then I flew up behind his first mate, who couldn’t see me on account of the patch on his left eye.”
“I thought you said the patch was on his right eye,” Gwen interjected.
“It was,” Peter replied. “He had patches over both of his eyes. That’s why he couldn’t see me.”
Gwen shook her head, getting fed up with his impossible story, but dying to know how it ended. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why didn’t you just say he was blind then? And if he was blind, why did you have to fly up behind him anyway?”
“Because I had to strangle him!” Peter declared. Hollyhock flew up behind Peter, pantomiming this part, dragging Bramble along to be her victim. “With the very rope he’d used to tie up Blink, I flew up behind him and just like that! BAM! I pulled the rope around his neck and nearly popped his head off. He dropped to the deck, dead as a doorstop!”
Newt and Sal cheered at this part. Spurt was still sound asleep in his dog bed. It was amazing, really, that the one who was usually the most high strung and noisy was the soundest sleeper as well.
“What about the captain, Peter?” Bard asked, smiling and chewing her apple. She had heard the story before, so she knew just which question to ask to get to her favorite part. She did love the part about what happened to the captain, mostly because it changed every time. No one could tell a story as well as Peter could, because no matter how many times he told it, and no matter how much it stayed the same story, the details were always radically different.
“The captain?” Peter echoed, “The captain! Well, Captain Rackham came up behind me and nearly cut me in two. He would have, too, if I hadn’t seen his shadow creeping up. He jabbed his sword forward to stab me, but I flew up and out of his way, and his sword went right into his first mate.”
“But his first mate was dead on the deck of the ship. He fell over when you strangled him,” Gwen objected. In response, Hollyhock pinched her. “Ow,” Gwen complained.
“Shush,” Rosemary told her.
“This was before he fell. Once he was strangled and stabbed, then he fell over and was dead as a doorstop.”
Newt and Sal cheered again.