Review: Wendy Darling: Stars by Colleen Oakes

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wendy Darling #1
Publisher: Sparks Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015 
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 256

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the Best-Selling Author of Queen of Hearts comes a dark and mesmerizing twist on the beloved Children's Classic, Peter Pan.

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, a intoxicating island of feral freedom.

As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her—have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.

Wendy Darling: Stars is a retelling of Peter Pan from the point of view of Wendy. It was a very good retelling of the story with some small differences from the original and a surprising, yet not surprising twist towards the end. I really enjoyed this book! It was definitely a choice I made based mostly on the cover! So gorgeous! 

In the beginning of this fairytale retelling, Wendy is on her way to the bookstore. She frequently visits the bookstore to get a new book and to see Booth, the bookseller's son. They spend a lot of time together and they have fallen in love. It probably won't work out because as a bookseller's son, Booth is rather poor and Wendy is a lady of society. Booth wants her to be brave and tell her parents about their love, but they don't approve.

That night, Wendy and her two younger brothers, John and Michael, are laying down for bed in their nursery. Their parents tuck them in before heading out to a ball. Their housekeeper locks them into the nursery for the night, when a strange boy called Peter Pan shows up in their room and offers them a life of adventure in Neverland! They fly off into the London night sky until they reach the beautiful island of Neverland! A magical place full of pirates, treasure, and Lost Boys! And Tink, the last fairy on Neverland. 

Wendy Darling is a pretty decent main character. She is scared to tell her parents about Booth because she knows they won't approve. I think she doesn't want to have to choose between her love for Booth and her love for her family. She needs to learn to be brave. She fiercely loves her two younger brothers, John who is fourteen and Michael who is 5. She would do anything for them. She can pretty much take on anything. She's tough. She deals with so much in this book and makes it through! She deals with a couple hundred Lost Boys who aren't used to seeing girls. Some of them look at her with fascination because there are no girls anywhere on Neverland it seems! Some look at her with sadness, reminded of their mothers. And still others look at her with hatred because she doesn't belong. She deals with it all. She is strong!

Peter Pan is basically just an overgrown child. He seems to be about Wendy's age, around sixteen. He takes care of all the Lost Boys and seems to treat them well. He truly cares for his Lost Boys. He is always up for an adventure and is constantly playing his games. But the cost of games and adventure can be rather high on Neverland. I didn't really care for Peter Pan. He was just too much of a child for me.

Wendy's little brothers are the other two main characters. I really hated John. There is not a single moment in this book where he is pleasant at all. Back in London, John didn't have any friends. He was bitter and full of hate. It intensifies when he gets to Neverland and he finally fits in somewhere, he immediately gets put into a high position in Neverland, and there are no rules. He takes that to mean that he can basically be an ass to Wendy at EVERY turn. I wanted to slap him. Michael is adorable, he tries to be a big boy around the other Lost Boys and won't let Wendy fuss over him, but when the other Lost Boys try to crowd around her and get her attention, he gets really clingy. He's a cutie.

There is romance in this book. I don't think that I will talk all that much about it just because I don't want to give too much away. There is the mentioned forbidden romance between Wendy and Booth and then there is more romance that begins in Neverland. I bet you can about imagine what that romance is, but if you want to know more about it, you better read it because I don't know what to say about it to keep it nonspoilery. 

For the most part, this book seems to be fairly true to the fairytale (or at least the Disney movie, which is the only Peter Pan story I've ever read/seen). The plot is similar without feeling like you're reading the script of the movie. There was more violence than I would have expected to see in this book. I didn't find it to be bad or anything, it just wasn't what I was expecting! The end has a twist that strays from what I know of Peter Pan, that like I said, was surprising, yet not surprising. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I think that anyone who likes Peter Pan or books about pirates would like this book! There wasn't THAT much pirate action in this book, but you can bet there will be more in the next book, Wendy Darling: Seas! I can't wait!

This book is written by an author that shares my first initial!


  1. Ok, so there is a love triangle between Booth and Peter Pan, I'm assuming? If so, I'm all for that. I'm a little sad about the lack of pirates, though. Is Captain Hook in this story?

    Sarah @ The Reading Petal

    1. To answer your question about the love triangle, I guess kinda. The only way I can even think to describe it is that there kinda is one, but not really. It's also 11 o clock at night and my brain isn't functioning at full capacity. Captain Hook is in this story a little bit! Moreso just being mentioned, but he does make an actual appearance toward the end. There is definitely some pirate action, but this book is more so about the Lost Boys and stuff, but the next book will, without a doubt, contain lots and lots of pirate action.


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