Second Star

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. I have to say this was one of the better retelling of Neverland. The blurb for this book is what drew me in. The think that set this retelling apart is that it is a sci-fi in space version. Wendy is the captain of her own ship and she is going to go on an adventure to find her hero. So she goes to the planet known as Neverland. There were some times that made me rethink the story I knew from my childhood. I had a different look on Hooke, Pan and Tinc as well. It was a fun adventure.
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The concept of the book is a great premise. If only the format had been accessible on my e-reader, I would have been able to give this a higher rating.
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I wanted so badly to like this book seeing as sci-fi is my favourite genre and Peter Pan was one of my favourite books as a child. So naturally a combination of the two would make for a winner, right? No. Unfortunately it didn't. 
I think J.M. Sullivan relied to heavily of the source material rather than writing her own original ideas so it just felt like I was re-reading the same book from my childhood. I would have liked even just a little bit of more original content. I mean, she pulled from the original book by J.M. Barrie (obviously), but also that live action Peter Pan movie from 2003 and also the Peter Pan story arc from Once Upon a Time. Basically what I'm saying is that she changed the story just enough (and I mean bare minimum) not to get pegged for plagiarism. 
If you want to hop on the Lunar Chronicles bandwagon, you best do a good job. 
I took me pretty much an entire month to get through this because I was so bored. I think it was at the 42% mark that J. M. stopped gushing over how wonderful and amazing and invincible Wendy is, and finally put them into the bloody spaceship. 
Also I think she forgot to mention why a hundred years have passed on earth but only a few had passed on Neverland. There's a black hole right on the cover... and it's never brought up. Usually the things that make it onto the cover play a central role in the plot. (For those of you who don't know, it is theorized that as you approach the event horizon of a black hole, time moves slower for you than it does for the rest of the universe. Basically you could watch the universe whip by in fast-forward. IDK I'm only an amateur astrophysicist so I recommend looking into Einstein... he actually knows how to explain what I just tried to.)
Anyway, this book was overall... disappointing.
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Peter's point of view was action packed and had a good fast pace, though it could have used a little reordering eg the author states that the captain/ cook are horrible before showing it, it would have been better if the telling came after the showing.
Wendy's point of view was slow going and I had trouble connecting with, yes she is the misunderstood genius and obedient noble girl who does want her parents want even though she doesn't want to.
Overall, I enjoyed the unique take on Peter Pan - the scifi setting was great - but found it hard care about the story and that made it difficult to finish. I ended up skimming most of it and struggle to really remember anything that captured me..
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When it comes to fairy tales, I’m always on the lookout for a good retelling—stories that incorporate elements from the ones we all know and love, but with their own spin as well. Second Star is the first novel in J.M. Sullivan’s Neverland Transmissions series and I got sold immediately after reading the synopsis. It’s a retelling of Peter Pan and, despite my not remembering the original tale, the synopsis brings together two of my favorite things: retellings and space. Seriously, what could go wrong? I should be screaming from the rooftops.

Except I’m not. So really, what went wrong? Quite a bit.

We spend nearly 30% of Second Star focused on when Wendy first starts the Londonierre Academy before she becomes Captain and is sent on a rescue mission to retrieve Captain Hooke. Another 40% when she is captain and goes on the trip with her crew, only to be stranded on a never-aging planet called Neverland. Within that time she meets Peter and the Lost Boys while trying to find Hooke and fix her ship to return home while finding out a much more sinister force called The Shadow is at play on the planet.

Then the last 30% is spent on the ending, which shot Second Star all the way from “This isn’t too bad” to “What?” in a matter of chapters. Everything gets resolved very quickly and very easily and if there is one thing I hate in a book, it’s a very easy solution solved in around five chapters. We get Captain Hooke built up to be some menacing bad guy (according to Peter, but he didn’t sound horrible) rather than the hero Wendy’s history books make him out to be and all we get at the end is something incredibly disappointing and convenient.

Please. I did not suffer for a month of reading slumps and struggling through this book to get my hopes shot lower than my Calculus grade (an absolute struggle). But it did.

Then there’s the romance. Not even necessary to the story, it came in like a wrecking ball. I’m usually not a fan of insta-love when I see one, but I’ll admit there are good ones out there sometimes. The insta-love between Peter and Wendy in Second Star? Did not buy it, did not want. Enemies to love triangle? Shoehorned in with the insta-love and the ending of the story.

Second Star by J.M. Sullivan isn’t the worst Peter Pan retelling I’ve come across though. The concept was amazing and I absolutely loved it! But the execution? Not exactly my cup of tea.
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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A Peter Pan retelling with all the greatness of a scifi bestseller? YES PLEASE!

I was a little disappointed at how hard it was to get into the story - it was quick and unrealistic and not explained very well. I had to force myself to get at least half way through, where it thankfully picked up a little, but there were plenty of problematic things as well (namely, the 'savage' alien species...). The writing and world building was a little dull, only explaining the bare minimum that barely be me a full view of the setting. 

I feel like the author may have been trying to replicate something done with the Cinder series, but it fell short. Not a best read, but there is truly some potential in what is there. 

Thank you for giving me the chance to review this story.
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I should have known that this was not going to work for me because I kept putting it down and reading other books. I wanted to like it. Peter Pan is one of my all time favorite books. I have loved other adaptations and this was going strong, but then Wendy showed up and would occasionally have these absurd harlequin romance descriptions about people for no reason. She is a Navy Captain in this book, and that is awesome and then a switch is flipped and she is the love struck red riding hood in that Tex Avery cartoon. It just didn't work. I kept going. I kept trying. Then the flux capacitor makes an appearance that was just a bridge too far. Come on. That is off limits. I just kept thinking, this is the first book in a series and what are the odds I am going to to pick up book 2? The odds were low. 
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. I should have loved this, but it is just not for me.
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Peter Pan is my favorite fairytale, so I immediately snatch up any retelling I can find! Second Star is a unique and clever sci-fi twist on the beloved story, and I love how well Peter, Wendy, and the others fit into this genre. Even if you aren't a fan of sci-fi, Second Star is an easy read with entertaining characters and world-building. Highly recommend, especially for those who love the Lunar Chronicles!
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First of all, how beautiful is the cover? I was browsing Netgalley and it was actually the cover that pushed me to read the plot and asking for an advance copy. So, yeah, the cover has all my 5 stars with no doubt.
Second of all, you would have just to tell me that it was a Peter Pan retelling and I would have dived on the book without hesitating. Yes guys, I'm that kind of reader. I love the Peter Pan story and every retelling I find I read it as if my life depends on it.
In this retelling we see James Hooke as a captain of a space craft, Peter Pan and the lost boys as the crew and Wendy as the captain of another space craft that has the order to bring the Jelly Roger (Hooke's space craft) back from Neverland, the planet where Hooke and his crew got stranded.
I got captivated by the story from the very start. It actually begins with Peter sabotaging the Jelly Roger. Being the lead mechanic in the crew he knows a lot about tech. It's the case of Tinker Bell, which in this story is not a fairy, but a nanobot made by Peter himself.
The technology component in the story is what makes this retelling really original, entertaining and catchy.
Another thing I liked was the dual pov, Wendy's and Peter's so we follow not only what happens in Neverland between the lost boys, Hooke and the local population, but Wendy's and her problems, insecurities and her obsession with Hooke.
I saw it is a series and the end made me impatient for the sequel. I actually CAN'T wait for the second book and see what will happen.

*Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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I do love how this is a retelling of Peter Pan. Thats why I'm giving it four stars. The only thing thats not gripping my attention is the fact that its set in space. Books set in space, for me, are heard to get into. Depending on how it is written.

I'll still give this a second read or glance. I'll even still recommend this book as well. I love how the first chapter is in Peter's point of view.
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It was the cover that caught my interest and the first reason I requested this book on Netgalley. But then I read the description and I was immensely intrigued. A sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan set in space? I was completely sold with the idea. 

But sadly, though the concept of this novel was really good, the execution wasn't.

This tells the story of Wendy and Peter and how they survived the SHADOW in a planet called Neverland. The description said about Wendy as a new captain of a space ship and was given a task to rescue the legendary Captain James Hooke and his crew. The Brigade received a transmission from Hooke's ship saying they found a planet when they followed the Second Star, and they call it, Neverland. Also James Hooke's ship had been missing for a hundred years, thankfully the transmission explained that Neverland's time isn't like of Earth even though it looks like Earth. 

My main problem is, there is no effing mystery or suspense in the plot even though the description promised it. Seriously, read the description and you'll think oooohh, it's gonna be one mysterious, interesting journey Wendy would take but no. First of all, the story started with Peter, one of Hooke's crews, and before they crashed. And then when we get to Wendy, she's just starting in the Academy. Yeah, the story basically started from the very beginning. How boring is that? I mean it would've been better if we started with Wendy taking off, and through her struggles in space, we're given flashbacks on how hard it was for her in the Academy. Actually I didn't see hardship in the Academy because she's a genius. I didn't see her geniuseness as well. We're just told she's amazing.

And giving Wendy the job is PREPOSTEROUS!!! A transmission from a legendary captain who's been missing for a hundred years and you'll give it to a newbie like Wendy and she'd been promoted just so she gets the job. The only explanation was as the Admiral says, she made a mistake of not trusting someone before who deserves it and so she's not gonna make the same mistake again. Like what? It wasn't explained. The Brigade should have other captains more suited and experienced for the task. It was a very important and dangerous task, for God's sake. 

And Wendy and Peter only met at 50% mark. And they fell in love in 55% mark. No fucking kidding. God!!!!!!! The romance was not really necessary, it can be hinted but making it as important as the main plot is just a bad idea. The thing is, the story followed the real story of Peter Pan so Strictly and when it came to Romance, the author should have followed the original. In real Peter Pan, the Romance is not a main theme. Some subplots are too cliché too.

And I know this is a retelling but like I said, the story followed the original too close, aside from the ships, AI and bots like TINC, Peter's nano-bot, there's no other differences in the plot which made the story predictable. It's also filled with eye-roll inducing scenes. 

The writing is not really for me. I was expecting for a deep, more complex writing since it's sci-fi yet I found mediocre and juvenile. I get that maybe the author is trying to make her book more understandable unlike other sci-fi with words I usually don't understand but really, it's too ABC. 

The dialogues are too cheesy and cliché like this one:

"Peter, can you hear me?"… "Say something."
"Wendy."… "You saved me."
"Saved you?"…."But I'm just a girl."

I know it's a reference but ugh! There's' also dialogues like "I couldn't have done this without you guys, seriously."

Also, I don't really feel emotion, any emotion while reading. It's because the characterization of Wendy is so pretentious. I think she's being shown as badass, smart and who's someone that will think of her crew first before herself. What a pretentious ninny. I couldn't feel her. I couldn't feel her fear when she first came to the academy even though she has teary eyes when her parents left, I don't feel her crush for captain Hooke or later her love for Peter because hey, she just described their physical looks. Ugh! I hate this Wendy. 

And there's one more thing, the use of the natives as the antagonists in the story. Don't even let me start with this aspect. 

Obviously, I don't like this novel and my two stars are all for the main concept because a sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan set in space is really nice to think about. And the cover is pretty, for me
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Honestly, I'm a little baffled by the high rating that Second Star by J. M. Sullivan has thus far. While it is a novel with a very promising premise, that of a Peter Pan retelling set in space with a nanobot as Tinkerbell and Wendy as a space Captain, everything about it fell incredibly short of that potential, so much so that I can only recall wishing that someone with better writing skills and less problematic racism had written this book. I find it quite devastating that the premise left me incredibly excited for a book that simply did not live up to its potential. After all, Peter Pan in space sounds like something that could become an incredibly amazing novel. Unfortunately for Sullivan, Second Star was not amazing.

There are a number of places in this novel where the author failed to deliver, from character development to general plot the novel as a whole was poorly researched and poorly executed. There are a number of areas where the author would have benefitted greatly from doing just a little more research. It becomes immediately clear that Sullivan has very little concept of what space travel is like and seems to have merely gotten all of her information from various science fiction television shows she may have watched. A rudimentary understanding of technology is also incredibly obvious throughout the novel. For someone who is writing a Peter Pan retelling involving space travel and advanced technology, Sullivan does little to convince me that she has any understanding of these areas of knowledge. It's all surface level and barring TINC, the nanobot Tinkerbell substitute, none of the technology really feels cutting edge or advanced. All in all, the aspects I was most excited to read in this book were minimal and disappointing.

The time spent in space is also incredibly short, leaving me feeling somewhat mislead by the premise. Instead of fighting pirates in space, both spaceships are subjected to malfunctions and end up crash landing on a tropical island planet. To make matters worse, Sullivan relied on the dated and very racist animated Disney film to draw inspiration for her depiction of the native peoples, referred to as stjarnins, living on the island. Not only does she make them greened skinned, but she describes them as primitive, unintelligent, and uncivilized. And though these descriptions, alongside the word "savage" are given by the villain of the story, Sullivan does nothing in her writing of these characters to refute the claims. The native people are written to sacrifice their own people to the shadow of the island, fearing it greatly enough to believe that keeping this shadow "full" will keep its wrath at bay. And, of course, once they realize others are on the island they take efforts to sacrifice them instead of their own people. Ironically, despite supposedly having been living on the island for more than a hundred years, this sacrificing of the newcomers only happens just before Wendy arrives.

And, of course, none of the characters have any real development. Whether it begins with their motivations, their decision making, or even just their relationships with the other characters around them I was left feeling as though I was reading personalities that were given only the barest thought when created. The purpose behind Hooke's betrayal was incredibly simplistic which therefore lead to Peter's actions becoming laughable, if only because it seemed that something was pulled from thin air in order to justify them. I never really felt as though I got to know the secondary characters and many were caricatures of their counterparts from the source material. What I did learn of them was incredibly minimal and resulted in me finding the relationships they had with each other unbelievable. The insta-love was beyond ridiculous, peppered with annoying focus on each others' appearances and the second love interest came out of nowhere, from a character so deeply unlikable that I felt horribly disgusted during the entire scene.

As for general writing, there aren't any terrible or glaring moments where I felt it was severely lacking. Perhaps my biggest gripe with it all is the sheer number of eye-roll inducing times Sullivan literally pulled quotes from Barrie's story. It became completely laughable the moment I came across the "never say goodbye" piece, a quote generally referenced as Barrie's from Peter Pan but was never actually something he had ever written. This is only further proof of how heavily Sullivan relied on the source material rather than actually researching and writing her own story. Overall, Sullivan's retelling is seriously lacking in fundamental, preliminary research, any form of real character or relationship development, and ultimately just seems to be a skeleton of what a well-written novel could be.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I always love reading new takes on fairy tales or well known stories so i was really excited for this book. At the beginning i felt like it was a little slow but it really picks up the pace later. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC of Second Star by JM Sullivan.

Second Star is a Sci-Fi retelling of Peter Pan. This book is easy and quick to read, so it’s good for all. I really like space-y things, so seeing this written this way was very fresh. It’s not heavy on world building, or explaining tech like some Sci-Fis. I do with there was more depth to it, but it is fresh and has sprinkles of what we all love. 

It starts with Wendy and Johns in the Academy. They’re best friends in this version, not related, and I think that is a wonderful change. Michaels joins too as a tech specialist, also as a friend. I think their relationship is very well done. It’s honest, funny, and sweet. It goes back and forth between Peter, who is in Neverland, and Wendy as she goes through the Academy. 

Peter is the head mechanic on the Jolly Roger, he finds out Captain James Hooke is up to no good and sabotages the Jolly Roger. It crashes on Neverland and they've been stranded there for 103 years. Peter escapes the ship with some of the crew and they live in a treehouse and become “the Boys”. I love the science bits in this half of the book. Mainly being how Hooke lost his hand and Smee is a robot! Tinc is also a robot, or a pix.E, which I thought was clever. It’s the small things that make me giddy.

Tiger Lily is in the book, but she’s an alien, and it takes a long time before we get to her. Her race is called Stjarnin and they serve the Shadow, which is an evil entity. I love evil things, so whenever it popped up in the story it was intense. Peter (and eventually Wendy) do have encounters with the Stjarnin quite early on, and throughout the book and it’s always interesting. My favourite part is the mermaids! They are nothing like the Disney ones, and I love that. They are cruel, evil, and scary. I definitely want more mermaids. Adrian Boyce is a new addition, he’s the commander’s son and is quite arrogant and rude. He did grow on me, but I feel a love triangle might be forming in the second book and I do not want that. Goodreads says there isn't a second book yet, so I'm unsure of the estimated date for that one. I feel like there would have to be at least one more book in the series. There isn't a lot of loose ends, but I would like to see them tied nonetheless.

I wish the book moved a bit faster. It’s not slow, but there was a lot of time spent in the Academy with Wendy/Johns/Michaels/Boyce which isn't overly exciting. Some drama with Wendy and her mom, but I just wanted to get to the space pirates, fighting, and romance. The last 100 pages are very action packed, especially the last 40ish. That was what I really enjoyed. But overall, it was a good book and it did satisfy my needs. Wendy and Pan are very cute, and I loved all the sci-fi additions. I hope there is a second book, and I will read it just to see how it ends.
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Second Star is the first installment to J. M. Sullivan’s Neverland Transmissions series.

The first chapter began with an excerpt from the Captain’s journal followed by Peter’s POV, where he struggled with something on their ship. The book (sort of) reminded me of Peter Pan with a mix of the movie Interstellar.

Although it took me quite a long time to finish the book, I don’t have any negative comments to say about it. The book exceeded my expectations and it was refreshing to read something like this.

I like how the book focuses on the entire purpose of the mission. The plot is somewhat similar to the above-mentioned movies but Sullivan put a twist on the story which makes it distinctive from the others. The writing style is easy to understand. Sullivan thoroughly exemplifies the personality and essence of each character specifically the main character, Wendy, who is such a strong and lovable woman! It is indeed a retelling of a well-known fairytale, Peter Pan. Nevertheless, it’s an action-packed and pleasant story.

The ending is not really a cliffhanger but it makes me wonder what will happen in the next book! I suggest you give the book a try if you like space adventures, mermaids, pirates, or retellings.
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I received a free copy from Bleeding Ink Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love Peter Pan. Maybe it's because my parents accidentally named my brother and I after the titular characters (Peter and Wendy). Therefore, I try to keep up with retellings of Peter Pan to see how authors put a new twist on the classic tale.

J.M. Sullivan's Second Star moved in the direction of science fiction, offering the Londonierre Brigade as the connection that ties all events together. Peter, a member of the Londonierre Brigade and a mechanic on Hooke's ship, gets stranded on a strange planet after learning of Hooke's true plan. Wendy, a recent enlistment in the Londonierre Brigade, captains a ship to a planet, aptly named Neverland, on a mission to rescue Hooke and his crew.

During the first half of the novel, I was unenthused by the sections told from Peter's point of view. In many ways, Sullivan deviated very little from J.M. Barrie's original story. There were, of course, the technological enhancements that made it slightly different, but the story arc, and even many of the lines uttered by the characters, were frustratingly the same.

However, Wendy emerged as a much more fleshed out character in this novel. I was very interested in her path and how she was turned into a young woman that was not to be trifled with. Throughout the story, she finds growth and love in unexpected places, though I was frustrated that in the end she did become a bit moony-eyed and abandoned some of the better characteristics that made her unique.

As the first in a series, the cliff-hanger was satisfying and actually seemed more apropos to the TV series Lost. Though Sullivan was playing on the idea of Peter Pan's shadow, she offers something much more sinister in its place.

This novel is dubbed as a YA novel, but I would place it on the younger side of that spectrum because the writing was more simplistic at points. However, as a YA, there are certain tropes that rear their head here. Instant love is the most obvious, but a love triangle does pop up near the conclusion in a very unexpected moment. I can almost forgive the instant love, but the love triangle seemed unnecessary.

I enjoyed this novel and will be tuning in for the next installment.
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Huge thank you to Bleeding Ink Publishing and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book!

It’s taken me a long time to get to this review because I’m still not really sure how I feel about this book, hence the middle-of-the-road three star rating. 

The fact that it was a Peter Pan retelling was automatically a plus, I LOVED that Wendy was more badass than she was in the original, Tink being a bot was just so much fun, the multiple points of view from Wendy and Peter were really handy to be able to give more insight into the story, and the first two thirds of the book was really very interesting and I managed to get through that part very quickly because of that.

Full (spoiler-y) review here:
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A re-telling and gripping adventure of Peter Pan in a futuristic world. “Second Star” by J.M. Sullivan is the first book in the “Neverland Transmission” YA series. 

The story begins with Peter Pan - a trusty mechanic on the Jolly Roger space ship, manned by Captain James Hooke - sabotaging the ship. The ship is pulled into an unknown planet’s atmosphere and crashes upon the sandy breach. Furiously Captain Hooke chasing him down claiming mutiny for both sabotaging the ship and killing a crew member. Peter barely escapes the ship with a group of Lost Boys, into the surrounding forest. 

Approximately a 100 years later. Wendy Darling, hard worker and top student at the Londonierre Brigade, is finally promoted to Captain. Her first mission is a rescue of the thought to be dead soldier and his crew of the Jolly Roger. Their guide is a strange transmission received from Captain Hooke himself. He speaks of the crash on the unknown planet which has many unusual phenomenons. The main being two stars above the planet and a strange immortality in which he believes they have been marooned on the planet for 10 years. Hooke thus names the planet Neverland. 

Wendy and her team set out towards a vague location based on Captain Hooke’s transmission. They find Neverland but their ship is too damaged to finish the mission. Than Wendy and Peter meet, an instant connection.

Not all is right in Neverland, there are darker things afoot. Will they fix the ship in time to escape the ever growing darkness? 

The story beautifully captured the original, weaving familiar sayings and tweaking the characters to suit a new and thrilling adventure. I preferred having both Peter and Wendy’s PoV to tell the story. I adored the budding romance between the two main characters. And I look forward the next book in the series. 

** I received a copy of Second Star by J.M. Sullivan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#SecondStar #NetGalley
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Plot (4 Stars): I love fairy tale retellings and this one was definitely not a disappointment. It reminded me a bit of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer in the way that it combines a fairy tale with science fiction. I loved it. I loved the story. It was just so fun to read.  Unfortunately, there were a few irritating things about it that seemed very unrealistic. Wendy Darling becomes the captain of a ship while she's an older teen. She had only been to the Academy and never served on a ship as far as the readers know. Also, her entire crew (there are only 6 of them) are made up of more teens. They are the rescue mission for Hooke and his crew. 

Characters (3 Stars): The main characters were great, for the most part. I really enjoyed them. I think Johns and Michaels were my favorite. I think Boyce should have been in it more because of the tension and emotions going on in him. I also think we needed more on the Lost Boys. There was so little about them that I couldn't even keep straight of who was who except for Tootles. Also, the love interest thing was a bit annoying. I mean, yeah, they think the other one is hot and it's repeated A LOT in the book so the reader definitely knows. Poor Wendy blushes, well, I don't know how many times. Many, many times though - pretty much any time the poor girl sees Peter. 

Writing (4 Stars): The writing is good. I can tell the author is good. However, there were a lot of errors. Small words are often left out and more so toward the end of the book. Besides that, the writing was great.

Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars!
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