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Samantha Spinner and the Perplexing Pants by Russell Ginns
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older
Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith
A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
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Sisters of the Neversea: 11/30/21

Sisters of the Neversea

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith is another in the present day trend of retelling and reconceptualizing Peter Pan against a modern setting. Of the ones I've read so far, this one is the closet to the original text and the most critical.

In this version, Wendy and John are the step siblings of Lily and the half siblings of Michael. Lily and Michael through their mother are Muscogee Creek. Wendy for her storytelling is a rare girl to be invited. Lily, being an "Injun" as Peter calls her, is left behind when Wendy and Michael take off for Neverland.

Neverland in the original is set up as a late 19th century, early 20th century British boy's utopia. It has animals to hunt, tree houses to live in, endless sword fights, pirates, a man eating crocodile, and so forth. Cynthia Leitich Smith through Lily and Michael has a dialog with the original text to decolonize Neverland.

Lily with help from Peter's shadow ends up at Neverland despite not being invited. Through her we get to see where the Indian kids go, (if/when they are lured to Neverland). We also learn through them the history of the island and of its failing environment due to poor land management by Peter and the Lost. It's an interesting and rational observation that Barrie's version of Neverland wouldn't be, couldn't be sustainable for the century and more that Peter's been living there with the Lost (Boys).

One detail all the recent pastiches/retellings I've read share is that Peter Pan is a villain. Because of inviting the Darlings to Neverland, he is remembered as a kidnapper of children. In the original the Lost (Boys) are orphans and have made a found family of sorts on Neverland where they stay perpetually children. While the text is there to be a hopeful/ joyful message for children, especially to those who don't have a family or don't have the ideal family, Peter's actions can have darker interpretations.

In this version, Peter's destructive nature is blamed in part on an over exposure to Belle's fairy dust. As in absolute power corrupts absolutely. And when it's magic power, its corruptions can be monstrous.

Neverland, being a utopia, naturally sits on the road narrative spectrum.

This particular version sits slightly lower than the original since the dialog with the text has refocused on protecting Neverland and its resources. The travelers (the Native children vs the Lost children) are set up in a scarecrow (protector) and minotaur (monster/destroyer) (99) dichotomy. Their destination is still utopia (FF) and their route their is still an offroad one (66).

Five stars

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