ARC Review: SAVING NEVERLAND by Abi Elphinstone (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in gold on blurred image of a girl in front of a mountain with two boys flying overhead
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for SAVINF NEVERLAND: title in gold above a girl in a snowy land with two boys flying above

Martha Pennydrop is ten, and desperate to grow up. But growing up is a tricky business. It means turning your back on imagination, fun and magic, because those were the things that led to the Terrible Day when something awful nearly happened to Martha’s younger brother, Scruff, which would have been All Her Fault.

But when Martha and Scruff discover a drawer full of mysterious gold dust in the bedroom of their new house – along with a window that’s seemingly impossible to close – it’s the start of an incredible adventure to a magical world: Neverland! The Pennydrop’s new house used to belong to another family – the Darlings – who once visited this world themselves. Now Peter Pan is back, and in need of their help. Neverland is in the icy grip of a terrible curse – cast long ago by Captain Hook. And only Martha and Scruff can save it . . .

A reluctant Martha and excited Scruff are swept off to Neverland and into the company of the Lost Kids. But when Scruff is kidnapped, Martha must rediscover all the imagination, magic and belief she has buried deep inside herself for so long, to save him – and Neverland itself.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


SAVING NEVERLAND is a wintry adventure story set in the well known world of Peter Pan that takes the magic of the original book and gives it a modern sequel that retains the spirit but gives it the author’s own twist. It is a tale about growing up not needing to eliminate magic and adventure and the importance and loyalty of siblings and family

There are new characters and places that fit in perfectly alongside the old. In fact, much of the book is new, with Peter, Hook, some of the pirates, and a handful of the locations only held over from the original book. All the new additions fit in perfectly to the world, though, expanding it and making it larger. This is not a retelling that treads familiar ground, but a reimagining that breaks new ones while clinging tight to the spirit of the old.

As it’s heart, this is a book about magic and the different ways you can grow up – how to do so without losing a sense of adventure and wonder. It is this heart that helps it feel like a sequel despite the many differences between the books.

Neverland is under an icy curse in this book, making it feel perfect for the season (I read this on a train with frost-covered fields on either side.) There are mountains made of ice and dreadful wintry creatures like frostbears. The mermaids lagoon has frozen over and is patrolled by icesharks. Plus there is even a mammoth in the mix too.

Key moment are illustrated in full page inserts, which adds a storybook feel to it. It’s not lots of illustrations around the text (which I feel is the most common MG illustration style) but rather a few major images with a little snippet of text beneath. It gives the sense that this is a book that could so easily become a special edition.

Read my reviews of other books by Abi Elphinstone:

The Unmapped Chronicles:

The Dreamsnatcher:


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