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24 September 2015

Colleen Oakes' Wendy Darling (Volume One: Stars)

I haven't actually finished this yet, but I plan on doing so at work tonight ... while I eat my Wendy Darling-inspired lunch! (Yes -- that was a totally shameless plug.) As I said on the other blog, this book is so good that I don't even need to finish it before wanting to scream from the rooftops that this book is sooooo good!
Available October 13, 2015!
I am incredibly horribly snobbishly (and, possibly, foolishly) addicted to -- and protective of -- Wendy Darling and her brothers, John and Michael. I always have been. My mom was a huge fan of all things Peter Pan and I had always felt a bond with Wendy. Peter Pan himself and the whole idea of Neverland scared me, but Wendy? She was my girl. She was caring. She was bookish. She wanted to be daring and adventurous, but she also wanted to go home. I got her. 
When I was quite small I found out that the maiden name of my sixth-great grandmother Lois was Darling ... and that her father's name was John. Coincidence? I thought not.
Never mind the fact that J.M. Barrie's Darlings were fictional (supposedly). 
Never mind the fact that my Darlings were from Scotland. 
Never mind the fact that my Darlings had come to the Continent 200 years before Barrie was even born.
Somewhere in my heart of hearts I knew ... I just KNEW ... that somehow the family was really truly real and that we were related through dear Lois, daughter of John. 
Very. Very. Distantly.
I told you -- I was quite small at the time.
Over the years, of course, I began to realize how silly the whole notion was but Little-Girl-Me still exists deep down inside and doesn't care a smidge about the silliness of notions and somewhere in my heart of hearts we still "know" that somewhere in some dimension all of these things are true. As such, I often find myself having issues with how my "family" is portrayed in adaptations and re-tellings of Barrie's stories.
I almost didn't request Colleen Oakes' Wendy Darling when I saw it on NetGalley because of this tendency of mine. I hadn't ready any of her books before and I was pessimistic as usual. 
Oh how I was wrong.
It's exciting and heart breaking and so overwhelmingly ... overwhelming. It touched my very core. It wrapped Little-Girl-Me up in a blanket and wiped away the very tears it itself caused. 
(Granted, Little-Girl-Me wouldn't be the suitable audience of this book. It's definitely more of a Young Adult/Adult read I think ... but I've never cared much for "suitability" so I may have read it anyway.)
The story opens in the nursery where 16-year-old Wendy is at the window with her father searching for a special star that only appears for a few days once a year. Her mother freaks out when she sees them because, you know, dangerous things can happen at open windows. 
This window is where Wendy finally sees the star. 
This window is where the bookseller's son, Booth, declares his intentions to tell her parents that he's in love with her -- in spite of the fact that he's much poorer and, therefore, unsuitable (Wendy doesn't care much for "suitability," either. She's totally my girl.). 
This window is where Peter Pan suddenly appears in a terrifying display on the night when Wendy is going to sneak out to be with Booth. 
This window is where Wendy and her brothers depart the nursery and London and take off to Neverland.
Neverland still scares me. It's full of unknowns. Dangers and pirates (not of the Well-Read variety, of course) and wild boys and a fairy with a pretty nasty jealousy streak. I would so much rather be home! Although ... Peter Pan can be rather mesmerizing ... 
This fact is quite possibly the biggest danger of all.

And the downside to getting an advanced copy from NetGalley? Now I have to wait even longer for the next installment in the series!!!

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