Hidden powers, parallel worlds—Gwen has a lot on her plate, but there are two teen hunks determined to help her.
Maxwell uproots Gwen from contemporary London and drops her in a reworked Neverland with competing teen versions of Peter Pan and Capt. Hook (with an enchanted mechanical arm) and a mercurial, lethal version of Tinkerbell. Excerpts from a separate story precede each chapter; despite its “Once upon a time” opening, this narrative starts on terra firma. Its World War I storyline of two brothers edges ever closer toward the main tale until the stories merge. The first-person, present-tense voice lets Gwen share her confusion during frequent clashes between good and evil, her uncertainty over who is telling the truth and deserves her loyalty, and the “thundering hoofbeats” of her heart as she defies death and the various minions of good and evil. Unsurprisingly, Pan and Hook (also known as the Captain and, eventually, simply Rowan) offer competing love interests. Maxwell shows a talent for describing lush, imaginative settings and epic battles based on layers of deceit and betrayal; inconsistent pirate vernacular is happily ever less frequent as the story progresses. When the truth of Gwen’s lineage emerges, readers will wonder that she spends so much time looking for a hero rather than being the heroine.
The romance is emphasized in this retelling of Barrie’s classic. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)