Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published by Heartdrum

Sisters of the Neversea: Smith, Cynthia L: 9780062869975: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  The story of Peter Pan gets an update featuring stepsisters Lily, who is Muscogee Creek, and Wendy, a white girl originally from England.  Lily’s mother is married to Wendy’s father, and they share a half-brother, 4-year-old Michael.  Mr. Darling has taken a new job in New York, while Lily’s mother plans to stay in Tulsa, and divorce is threatening to tear the family apart.  On the eve of Wendy’s departure, Peter Pan appears with a fairy named Belle, whisking Wendy and Michael away to Neverland.  Lily follows, and winds up connecting with a group of Native kids who live in hiding to escape Peter and his Lost Boys.  There are mermaids, more fairies (and lots of fairy dust), pirates (led by Pirate Queen Smee), and wild animals that Peter and his band are quickly hunting to extinction.  Wendy and Lily have to put aside their differences to figure out how to rescue everyone, and even Peter winds up a somewhat reformed character as the book winds up with a happily-ever-after ending.  Includes an author’s note that discusses the questions she had about the original story that led her to create this one.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  The story manages to explore serious themes like colonialism, bullying, and the environment without losing any of the fairy tale fun.  The truth about the “bad” characters from the original story, the Indians and the pirates, turns out to be far more interesting and shows how storytelling can be misleading and result in harmful prejudices. 

Cons:  I’ve never read the original book and it’s been years since I saw the Disney movie, so I felt I wasn’t always appreciating all the details of the story.

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