Rummanah Aasi

Description: Wendy Davies crashes her car into a lake on a late summer night in New England with her two younger brothers in the backseat. When she wakes in the hospital, she is told that her youngest brother, Michael, is dead. Wendy — a once rational teenager – shocks her family by insisting that Michael is alive and in the custody of a mysterious flying boy. Placed in a new school, Wendy negotiates fantasy and reality as students and adults around her resemble characters from Neverland. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy starts to draw. But is The Wendy Project merely her safe space, or a portal between worlds?

Review: The Wendy Project is a new innovative retelling of Peter Pan that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. In this retelling Wendy is an ordinary teen who gets distracted and accidentally drives off a bridge with her brothers in the backseat. When they're rescued, Wendy is told John has survived, however, her youngest brother Michael's body cannot be found. He is presumed dead via drowning, but Wendy insists that he is alive and she saw him flying off into the sky holding someone's hand. While her family members grieve around her, Wendy is committed to finding out where Michael went. She can't be see shimmers of Peter Pan in a mysterious loner and known trouble maker Eben Peters who intends her school and catches his fancy. She also sees traces of Captain Hook in an officer who comes and questions her after her recovery. Concerned by Wendy's insistence that Michael is alive somewhere, her parents send her to a therapist, who encourages her to draw her feelings and creatively becomes the graphic novel we are reading.
   The colorful watercolor illustrations of Wendy's hopeful glimpses into magic and wonder of Neverland are striking against the cold, grey grief that overshadows her and her family. While I loved the contrast in this the graphic novel, I wasn't a fan of the artwork. The text was hard to read at times and came across as scribbles packed together though it lends to Wendy's journaling authenticity. I would have liked the panels to have more room to spread out. Instead of focusing on the themes of innocence, and immortality, The Wendy Project uses the classic tale as a kaleidoscope to convey Wendy's emotions of confusion, love, grief, and guilt.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is a teenage partying scene where underage drinking and drug use are depicted. There is also some minor language. Recommended for strong Grade 7 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Curse of Addie McMahon by Katie Davis, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
1 Response
  1. Of all the retellings that are out there, I haven't seen Peter Pan versions. I think it sounds like there's a bit too much fantasy/magic for me.

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