Everland by Wendy Spinale

everlandBibliographic Information:

  • Publisher, Date: Scholastic Press, 2016
  • Edition, First
  • Description: 312 pages ; 22 cm
  • Interest Level: YA
  • Summary: Gwen Darling and her siblings have survived the bombs, a deadly virus outbreak, and an army of Marauders bent on abducting the war’s youngest victims. But when Captain Hook snatches her sister, Gwen will stop at nothing to get her back, even if means sacrificing her own life. In Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive. Retrieved from http://wendyspinale.com/ .
  • ISBN: 978-0-545-83694-4
  • Subjects:
    • Children and Warfare – Fiction
    • European History (Alternative) – Fiction
    • Viral Outbreaks – Fiction
    • Survival Stories – Fiction

Reader’s Annotation: I don’t care if I have to fight Captain Hook myself, I’m getting my sister back.  They took my mom and my dad, but they won’t get Joanna.

Plot Summary: In an alternate history world, a Germany ruled by the evil Queen Katherine, dubbed the ‘Bloodred Queen’, has waged war against the world.  A group of her soldiers known as the Marauders, led by her son Captain Hanz Otto Osward Kretschmer – also called Hook – attacked London and inadvertently bombed a research facility releasing a virus that has killed all or most of the adults in England and which has begun to spread around the world.  Hook is desperate to find a cure as his mother is starting to show signs of the illness.

At the center of this situation is a young girl named Gwen, her little sister and her little brother, who are struggling to survive in a world without adults and at war, while avoiding the Marauders who are kidnapping any child they find to perform experiments in order to  find a cure for the virus.  They seek a child who is already immune as a result of the vaccination she received from her scientist mother, a woman who is being forced to help Hook. After her sister is kidnapped by the Marauders, Gwen finds an ally in a boy named Pete, who is adept at avoiding and thwarting Hook, and they work to rescue her.

Critical Evaluation: One of the current trends in literature is the re-imagining of old works or of fairy tales and myths.  This books falls into the first category in that it is a retelling of Peter Pan, set in a steampunk like world whose history is very different from what really happened.  It is an interesting idea.  Making Peter a survivor of an apocalyptic viral outbreak who is at once trying to not get sick, to care for other young survivors, and undermine the attacks by an evil teenaged, German officer who is the story’s version of Captain Hook.  Wendy is played by Gwen who has been orphaned by the war and trying to keep her remaining family safe and together.  All of the critical elements of the original story are there in one form or another.  What’s missing is the chemistry needed to make the story work.  The writing is alright but it’s not that interesting of a read.  Despite the potential the story drags and fails to pull the reader into the world the writer has created.  It is not a bad read just not a good one.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nvq_f_Cdbmc

Author’s Brief Bio: Wendy is a former Disneyland actress and online journalist. She currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband, three sons, and the best four-legged writing partners ever, Odie and Alex. EVERLAND is the first in a three book series with a fairytale cast in a steampunk world.

Genre Designation: Fantasy Dystopian Fiction

Possible Curriculum Links:

  • History
  • Science

Book Talk Ideas

  • How does warfare affect children?
  • What could you do to find food and shelter when there are no adults around to help you?

Materials Relating to Potential Challenges:

Reviews:

 

Why this book was selected: I was attracted to the retelling of Peter Pan in a steam punk version, and the cover is awesome.

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