Have you ever heard the saying “youth is wasted on the young”?
Hitting some of those milestones of adulthood (first time away from home, first credit card bill, first time burning dinner, first time making a doctor/dentist appointment) has really given me an appreciation for the carefree years of childhood.
During my teenage years, when all I really knew of adulthood was that I’d be able to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I so chose (full disclosure: I do this), I spent a lot of energy congratulating myself for being wise beyond my years, knowing I would ace this whole adulthood thing. Ah, nothing like the bratty confidence of youth! You know who else is bratty and youthful?
I never paid much attention when I watched the animated Disney movie as a child, but as much as Peter can be seen as a loveable scamp, he is also a bit of a jerk. The fact is though, that overconfidence and a disregard for the wellbeing of others are both fairly small concerns in comparison to some of the darker themes lurking beneath the layer of fairy dust that covers Neverland.
The tension between growing old or staying young forever and gaining wisdom or remaining ignorant drives the story of Peter Pan. Modern retellings explore this tension from different angles, adding new and interesting dimension to this classic children’s story, and I find myself more intrigued by the story of Neverland as an adult than I ever did as a child. I guess there really is something to this whole growing up business (beyond the bills and extra responsibilities, I mean).
Here are just a few of the new imaginings of J.M. Barrie’s immortal boy that you can find at the library. See for yourself what you think of the new Neverland!
Never Never by Brianna Shrum
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole.
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up. When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child-at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
When fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan deep in the forbidden woods of Neverland, the two form a bond that’s impossible to break, but also impossible to hold on to. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. However, when Wendy Darling, a girl who is everything Tiger Lily is not arrives on the island, Tiger Lily discovers how far she is willing to go to keep Peter with her, and in Neverland.
Adding to the interest of this book is the fact that it’s told from the point of view of the very famous fairy, Tinkerbell herself.
Everland by Wendy Spinale
In this dystopian spin on the Peter Pan story, London is a ruin, destroyed by German bombs and ravaged by the Horologia virus. The Marauders of the ruthless Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer seize the children who are immune to the virus in the hope that their blood will produce a cure–their latest victim is sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling’s younger sister and Gwen will do anything to get her back, even join up with Pete and his gang of Lost Boys living in a city hidden underground.
This TV series reimagines many of your favourite Disney characters, from Prince Charming and Snow White to Rumpelstiltskin and the Evil Queen. Binge watch enough episodes and you’ll meet Captain Hook and Peter Pan as well!
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend Olivia, is with her for the summer.
But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…
Never Ever by Sara Saedi
On her seventeenth birthday, Wylie and her brothers are whisked away by the enigmatic Phinn to an island where teenagers never grow up. This could be Wylie’s dream come true, but mysterious disappearances make her expect that there’s more to life on the island than Phinn is telling her.
Are you a fan of retellings in general? If so, do you have a favourite? Or would you rather just read the original? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!