Never Ever by Sara Saedi (Never Ever #1)
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Summary: 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.
My Thoughts: I’ve been wanting to read more Peter Pan retellings ever since I read Unhooked!
And to be honest I think I loved this one a lot more!
Sara’s writing style really creates a whimsical/magical tone for this novel which I loved!
This retelling is quite dark not only on Minor Island (this versions Neverland) but also in the real world w/ one of Wylie’s brothers Josh heading to juvie + her parents marriage falling apart, which leads the Dalton’s escaping to M.I.
After meeting the mysterious Phinn at a rooftop party, he introduces himself to Wylie and she gets to know him for a short time and after eating flowers, her + her brothers are convinced that Phinn taking them to MI will make them so much happier!
After basically kidnapping them, he introduces them to the island.
There were so many modern/unique twists that made this book so much fun!
This version of Neverland was so cool!!
I loved the twist that Saedi was able to put on this versions Neverland w/ MI becoming an island for kids who had a rough past and escape it!
The world building was fantastic. The island had a variety of customs, food, even their own unique slang!
I found that the politics/hierarchy that run MI were a very integral part of the story and were used perfectly to create an aura of mystery not only for Phinn and the others living on the island, but the island itself!
As for plot I really loved it!
Throughout the novel, Wylie is unsure whether or not she wants to stay there on the island, while getting sucked into the intrigue/mystery of the island itself and knowing that she is falling in love with Phinn!
With the 3rd person POV, it was wonderful to see the parents POV in this as well because as the plot progresses we come to know one of them has quite an important role in the story.
Now onto the spoilers!!
The Dalton’s father being an original member of MI was a plot twist I did not see coming! But it was great to see that by the end, he got all the info he needed to figure out where Wylie+Josh+Micah were.
I loved how Wylie’s father was what really tied this story together! Because throughout most of the novel I was trying to connect the dots but couldn’t really find an answer, especially behind Hopper (one of the original island members that everyone fears is dangerous)! As the plot progresses there is so much more to Phinn that really develops him more as a character.
So many plot twists you don’t see coming!!
However there were a few issues that kept me from giving this a full 5 stars.
I wanted Phinn+ Wylie’s relationship to be developed a little more. There were moments I felt they could have taken time to talk more + get to know each other better before they went into their relationship.
While I absolutely loved the island created, I wish there would have been more descriptions/backstories about the island just to give a little more depth to the world.
As for the ending, the second I read that last line all I could think was:
“WHAT?? It can’t end like this!!”
Luckily, there was an excerpt in the back for the SEQUEL which will be titled The Lost Kids!!! ❤ ❤
If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend you do!
Sara’s dark + magical twist on the classic Peter Pan will keep you reading till he very end! The secrets surrounding the mysterious Minor Island and its residents will definitely leave you wanting the sequel right away!