Everland

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Everland Book Poster Image
Steampunk version of Peter Pan takes a dark turn.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Everland reimagines Peter Pan and demonstrates how familiar stories can be used as a springboard for new adventures.

Positive Messages

Friendship can help someone prevail against long odds. Defeating opponents requires teamwork and, sometimes, self-sacrifice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With her parents presumed dead, Gwen strives to protect her younger siblings, ready to face any danger in pursuit of their safety. Pete sometime seems impulsive and irresponsible, but his heart is always in the right place.

Violence

From the start, Everland is full of children in physical jeopardy. A teen character is devoured by crocodiles. Another has his hand chopped off. Characters receive bullet wounds. One character is branded with a heated ring.

Sex

Pete and Gwen feel a romantic spark and share a couple of romantic embraces.

Language

A few instances of "bloody," in the British usage. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Everland reimagines J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan as a steampunk dystopian adventure. Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook all appear in different, darker guises. Set in the wake of a plague that has killed most of London's adult population, the novel features sword fights and gun battles, and children and teens are in constant physical jeopardy. Various teen characters are shot, stabbed, and eaten by a crocodile. There's no swearing other than the British "bloody." Pete and Gwen have a growing attraction and share a couple of passionate embraces. 

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What's the story?

EVERLAND reimagines Peter Pan as a dystopian steampunk adventure. London has been destroyed by German aerial bombing and the ravages of a deadly virus. Few adults survive, so it's up to 16-year-old Gwen Darling to protect and support her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. When Joanna's kidnapped by Captain Hook and his deadly Marauders, Gwen sets out to save her and, in doing so, connects with a mysterious and charismatic boy named Pete, who leads a ragtag group known as the Lost Boys. Before they face off against Captain Hook, Gwen and Pete must endure hardships and betrayals and learn to trust each other.

Is it any good?

Author Wendy Spinale delivers a rougher Peter Pan adventure full of skullduggery and genuine jeopardy in her debut novel. It takes quite a bit of ambition to reimagine and remix an enduring classic beloved by millions around the world, but Spinale is up to the task. She uses Peter Pan as a template for Everland, but Gwen, Pete, and Hook are more complex characters than those imagined by James Barrie, and the story has been stripped of its sentimentality. Older, more sophisticated readers are more likely to appreciate the cleverness of Spinale's world-building and look forward to the next volume in the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Everland reshapes a well-known story. Why do readers like to see favorite stories updated?

  • What role does violence play in Everland? How do the characters use the threat of physical violence to get what they want? Is violence the only way to achieve their goals?

  • How do Pete and the Lost Boys help each other to survive? What characteristics make a person a good leader?

Book details

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