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Never After by Dan Elconin

Never After

by Dan Elconin

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This book was extremely clever, funny, adventurous, and overall and exciting and attention-grabbing read. ( )
  SiempreBailando | Jan 9, 2016 |
Ricky wakes up out of a good dream--one about an Island, a lush green paradise--and is startled to hear a crunching sound outside his window. Trying to be brave, he opens the window to investigate, and in comes Peter: an about-16-year-old with an Australian accent who seems to know everything in Ricky's head. Peter offers to take Ricky to the Island he's been visiting in his dreams, and seeing nothing to lose, Ricky accepts. No sooner have they gotten to Peter's Island, though, when Ricky is clubbed in the back of the head and comes to to find a rescue mission in progress. Alex cuts Ricky's binds and leads him out of the dark caves, back to the burrow where he and a few other rescued teens have been living with the man they call Captain. Slowly Ricky starts to trust his rescuers, and they slowly start to trust him--enough, anyway, that they can use him in their mission to capture Peter so that they can all, finally, go home.

This fast-paced adventure sticks pretty close to the source material, while still allowing for some creative reinterpretations necessary to modernize the story. Captain Hooke's crew--these three troubled boys and one very troubled girl--are not as dynamic as they could be, but the point of the book is more in the updating of the Peter Pan story rather than richly nuanced character development. The one strike against it is that the cover copy makes no mention of this being a Peter Pan story; while this might draw in some readers who otherwise wouldn't be interested, it does contribute to a bait-and-switch reading experience. Teen boys swear a lot and think inappropriate thoughts, so I wouldn't hand it to sixth-graders, but mature 8th graders and up will find themselves turning adventure-filled pages late into the night. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Never After is a retelling of Peter Pan. However, instead of a boy who lives in paradisaical Neverland taking care of his Lost Boys, flirting with mermaids and TigerLily, and valiantly fighting against Captain Hook, Elconin's Peter is a kidnapping con artist. Luring children of unhappy homes to the paradise of Neverland, Peter enters their dreams and makes them believe that all their worries will disappear once reach the island. Then, once they fly to this special place, Peter knocks them on the head, kidnaps them, and saves them for a purpose unknown to the kidnapped boys.

Luckily, the main character, Ricky, is saved by a gang of other kidnapped teenagers who have escaped Peter and remain on the Island, trying to find a way home. Their goal is to kidnap Peter, who is the only one that can fly, and somehow force him to take them home. The only problem is that Peter has a horde of zombies called the Lost Boys at his command, the Native Americans refuse to help, and a giant crocodile has it out for the oldest escapees -- Nigel Hooke.

Never After is imaginative, fun, and adventurous. There is always some intrigue going on, making this a fast and entertaining read. All the characters go through dramatic changes and grow tremendously while they try to find their way back to their dysfunctional homes. Some of the issues with the characters were overly melodramatic, but for the most part, I found myself liking and relating to them. The ending battle is fantastic and well worth the build-up in the beginning.

Yet, while the changes in the classic Peter Pan story are interesting, this was a bit too immature for me. There were too many penis jokes, "that's what she said" lines, and insults to each other's mothers. At first it was amusing, but after a constant barrage of them, it wasn't funny and it seriously detracted from the story. Also, the writing could have been better. There's a lot of telling instead of showing and things always "seem" to be one way, they never simply "are." Basically, just classic mistakes from a young writer. Nothing major, but definitely not as polished as it could have been. Aside from all that, however, this was actually a good story.

I think lovers of retellings and young adult fantasy will appreciate Never After. It's a fun re-imagination of the Peter Pan story we have all grown up with.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | May 28, 2012 |
So apparently I am a teenage boy on the inside. Yup, I thought this book was amazing and hilarious!

I will grant anyone else who read this the fact that the writing is simplistic, it is. However what do you expect for a writer who was a teenager when he wrote this? I think it fits so well!

The characters are amazing! They are the type of people you wish you could hang out with, always jibing one another and telling "That's what she said" jokes until the other party cracks a smile. If you don't mind cuss words (and I don't mean a bit of cussing, I mean pretty profuse cussing) then you will really enjoy this story.

No, this book is not all snarky humor, although it mostly is. Buried beneath all the jokes is a story about 5 teens and their quests to be happy with their lives. Each of them has gone through something life changing, and they bond together to deal with their issues together. I think it's also about friendship and the definition of a friend.

I wish I could say more, but I don't want to give it away! If the book synopsis doesn't feel the need to tell you what this book is about ahead of time, then I don't want to either. Just read and enjoy! ( )
  roses7184 | May 15, 2010 |
Peter Pan has always creeped me out a bit. So it actually makes sense to me to have him be the bad guy. Right from page one, Elconin pulls the reader into his vividly imagined retelling, to the point where I think Peter Pan will now always have an Australian accent in my mind. All the elements of the Peter Pan story are pulled in, though Tinkerbell was almost unrecognizable. No perky Disney-fied fairies here. I think the crocodile was my favorite, though.

Never After is packed with sword-fighting, torture, revenge, and monsters (chases, escapes, true love, miracles... no, wait. That's the Princess Bride.), that keep the action flowing. Highly recommended for the teen-guy demographic.

My biggest problem with this book were the endless sexual puns. Pretty much any time the guys from Hooke's gang are talking to each other (ie. most of the dialogue in the book), there are silly, crude jokes. Example: "Guy 1: So what, are you going to kill me now? Guy 2: You only wish I would penetrate you with my sword." Tolerable or maybe even funny for a couple of pages, but if you aren't a teenage guy it gets old fast.

Overall, this is an exciting, imaginative adventure, one that kept me involved right from the first page. Check it out!

Content warning: These are most vociferous young men, forever talking about eternal damnation, excrement and fornicating under consent of the king. In other words, they talk exactly like most teenage boys I know, and there are abundant occurrences of h---, sh--, and f--k. Consider yourself warned. ( )
  vanedow | Jan 28, 2010 |
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When sixteen-year-old Ricky Darlin is lured away from problems at home by Peter, who later abandons him on The Island, Captain Hooke and his crew rescue him and enlist his help in capturing Peter so they all can return home.

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