Series: Neverland Lost #1
Published by A&A Literary on April 25, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Retellings, Fantasy, Romance
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Northern was supposed to be a fresh start—a place where people didn’t know who I was or how I had spent years in and out of mental institutes. People didn't know about my parents death or the island no one heard of. But when Peter sits next to me in lit class, I can’t stop the memories, and I don’t want to. He looks too much like the boy from the island, and despite my best intentions, coaxes my secrets from me.
He’s gorgeous, irresistible, a little mad, and completely lost—we are a pair of broken cogs in a world neither of us truly fits into. He is somehow gentle and fierce, heartbreaking in his devotion and savage in his defense.
When Belle, his best friend, shows up, pale and lovely and sick, Peter pulls away from me, a startling withdrawal. It’s a relationship that scares and confuses me. She is at times warm and friendly, and other times is violent and unpredictable.
Peter says that he wants me, but refuses to let himself get close. And there are secrets, surrounding both of us, that border on nightmares. As the memories close in, as Belle gets sicker and more violent, I’m torn between what is true and what I believe, and what this magical boy knows about my mysterious past.
Girl Lost is a modern day spin on the classic tale of Peter Pan, one of my all time favourite novels. I am always on the look out for a good adaptation and Girl Lost has been one of my favourites so far. It doesn’t follow the trend of making Peter Pan the villian and Captain Hook the hero, a storyline that has been very overused in the past couple years. Instead Girl Lost focuses on the relationship between Peter Agreus (aka Peter Pan) and Gwendolyn Barrie (aka Wendy) and the repercussions of her leaving the island (aka Neverland).
Interesting Factoid: Peter’s last name is Agreus and Agreus was a Pan from greek mythology. He was a creature related to the god Pan and in human shape has the horns of a goat. Agreus inherited the gift of prophecy from his nymph mother and was also a skilled hunter.
Gwen’s story starts at age twelve on a boating trip with her parents where they were attacked by Mongol pirates and Gwen witnessed their murder. She wound up stranded on her own until a strange boy boarded her boat and brought her to an island inhabited by children. She lived in the wild for months with the Boy, Peter, and his rag tag group of lost boys. Gwen wanted to say on the island but was worried about her younger brother Micah (aka Michael Darling) being on his own. Peter reluctantly returns her to the boat and when she is found only three weeks has passed. Her Aunt and brother believe that that she fabricated the story of the island to protect her mind from the horrific memories of what happened to her parents.The Boy continues to visit Gwen and when no one else can see him she is labelled as crazy and spends the next seven years isolated in mental institutions. Gwen is fed a steady diet of pills and continues treatment until her she loses her belief and the Boy can no longer visit her. After two years of “stability”, it is decided that she will start college at Northern University with her younger brother Micah.
Micah is overly protective and constantly worried that Gwen will not be able to handle the real world and relapse. She has to check in with Micah and her therapist, Grayson, everyday but is still excited for her fresh start. Her room mate Orchid (aka Tiger Lily) has a stoic strength that compliments Gwen’s personality and they become fast friends. Orchid is not bothered by her sudden outbursts of temper that Gwen exhibits when her sanity slips and becomes very protective of her. Gwen also befriends James Accrocher (aka Captain Hook) who is your typical tall, dark and handsome pirate. He very quickly falls for Orchid and over time becomes a good friend to Gwen. James is extremely dishonest and can’t keep his business in his pants but is also loyal and kind, he is an interesting contradiction. He becomes very protective of Gwen and doesn’t mind when she has her “crazy” bouts. Orchid and him make for a peculiar couple and I would love to read another novel that focuses on their relationship.
Gwen herself is a bit of a complex character. She is very timid and unsure of herself one minute and have a raging temper the next. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence after being told for years that her mind is lying to her and she is constantly worrying that she will make a mistake or relapse and be sent back home to an institution again. It’s very heart breaking to see her struggling with what is real and what isn’t and not being able to trust her own mind. I think that Micah also makes her condition worse by treating her with kid gloves all the time. He acts like she is a fragile doll that could shatter at any moment and undermines Gwen’s confidence in herself. She doesn’t have the best social skills and can be a bit cruel to people. Even going so far as to “date” another guy she has no interest in just to feel normal. Still Gwen wants to get better and hopes the more time she spends at Northern, the easier it will become.
“I’m terrified of going home” I whisper.
“Then stay with me,” he says softly.
I smile because it is ridiculous and tempting and because when the Boy stares at me like this, like I am the only thing in existence, nothing else matters.
I smile, “For how long?”.
“Pixie,” he says gently reproving. “I’m a greedy thief. Don’t you know I would only every want forever?”
Then Peter saunters into one of her classes and Gwen’s world turns upside down again. As soon as Gwen sets eyes on him she sees the Boy from the island, her Boy. He has the same red hair, exotic green eyes and impish smile. At first she believes she is hallucinating again and when she realizes that he is in fact real, and very much interested in her, she can’t stop comparing him to the boy from the island. Peter starts to call her Gwendy, the same nickname the boy used, and follows her around campus with his band of frat boys (aka the lost boys). Gwen blatantly ignores him and the memories he triggers. But as it goes with any romance story, she can’t stay away for long and after a rough night goes running into Peter’s arms. Things move very quickly between Peter and Gwen and she soon realizes that he is far more naive and innocent than she originally thought.
Peter is exactly how I imagined an adult Peter Pan would be, impatient with an air of recklessness and excitement about him. He is possessive and short tempered, which is what you would expect of someone who never had to grow up and always got what he wanted. He is also very loyal and kind and never pushed Wendy too far. He constantly worried about pushing her too far and her sanity going over the edge, but the more time she spends with him, the stronger her memories of the island become, and her grasp on reality starts to fray. It doesn’t help that he keeps hinting at some shared past together that Gwen can’t remember. It’s then that Peter’s best friend Belle (aka Tinkerbell) shows up. She is violently possessive and a total bitch to Gwen, even going so far as to outright attack her. She doesn’t seem to care what Peter wants and makes her own assumptions about what is best for him.
Honestly her appearance when everything was going so well between Gwen and Peter was downright aggravating.
Still Peter stays faithful to their friendship and when Belle starts to get sick, Peter is desperate for Gwen to remember him from her past. Peter and the lost boys seem to think that Gwen is the key to Belle getting better, only if she can believe in her past, something that Gwen is not sure she can do.
“I fell in love with you, with the wonder in your eyes after everything , and the fierce joy you gave to everyday.”
Girl Lost is a story of regret and the consequences of letting the thing you love most go. It is very fast paced and I feel like it could have been a bigger novel to fill in some of the plot holes. It could also use a bit more editing as there were a few redundancies, spelling errors and continuity issues. Despite that I still really enjoyed Girl Lost and if you are a Peter Pan fan you probably will as well. It was a bit of a wish fulfillment story for myself as I had always wanted Peter and Wendy to stay together.
I really enjoyed Nazarea Andrew’s spin on my beloved fairytale and overall I would give Girl Lost 4/5 stars and I will definitely be reading it again!
Disclaimer: Girl Lost is a New Adult novel and contains some graphic sex scenes that may not be suitable for younger audiences.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Reading Challenge