Title: Straight On Till Morning
Author: Liz Braswell
Pub. Date: February 4, 2020
What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland… with Captain Hook?
Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling’s life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess-it all makes her wish things could be different.
Wendy’s only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.
So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn’t quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.
But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it’s up to the two of them to save Peter Pan-and his world.
This will be a mini spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible.
I had somewhat high expectations for this book. I love Peter Pan and always get excited for retelling/adaptations. This wasn’t so much a Peter Pan retelling, as a Wendy Darling story, and I was kind of bored the whole time listening to it. It was long, the plot lagged in places and to be honest, I really didn’t care for the ending. The ending didn’t feel like Wendy Darling and it had me rolling my eyes.
I also tend to forget in my romanticizing of Peter Pan and Neverland, that he’s this insufferable child who I end up wanting to throttle. He’s exceptionally annoying in this book, but on the other hand, it felt like an accurate representation of a kid.
Like I said, this book was long, and the plot was slow and lagged. I found myself just wanting the story to be over. I’d been hoping for the book to feature a partnership between Wendy and Hook, a-la Emma Swan and Hook on Once Upon a Time, but sadly, the characters (for the most part) stay true to the movie. I should specify, not the romance, because these are very much the movie characters, but I guess I was expecting something more, something else?
I will say that I liked the partnership and friendship between Wendy and Tinkerbell, which I really wasn’t expecting to be a staple of this story. I liked that we got to explore Neverland, and how it was a bit more sinister than Wendy ever imagined. I also liked that it felt like the movie, just expanded. I still really want to go to Neverland and find Peter Pan. I don’t think that is a wish I’ll ever stop making. Ever. I love the magic of it all.
Overall, the book wasn’t bad. It had its moments, and the production of the audiobook was fantastic. Even when Peter Pan retellings aren’t my favorite, it’s always fun being back in the world of Neverland, traveling to the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. This book also 100% made me re-listen to the Finding Neverland Broadway Soundtrack on repeat.