Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

Everland by Wendy SpinaleEverland
Wendy Spinale
Scholastic Press
Published on May 10, 2016

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Everland
The only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.

Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?

My Review
If I had to summarize my thoughts on this book into one word, it would be: clever. I’ve been curious about Everland for a long time but worried that a post-apocalyptic Peter Pan would be weird or cheesy or something. It wasn’t! I loved the way Spinale used elements from the original story in new ways. Remnants of a German army who call themselves Marauders as the pirates in the story. Children who’ve escaped the warfare to live underground and who call themselves Lost Boys. The lack of girls and adults among the survivors explained by the fact that the disease which killed so much of the population targets females and grown-ups.

The plot moves quickly, and danger lurks around every turn. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. If I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the story and wondering what would happen next! Bella was probably my favorite character. She’s smart and bold and frank. A bit capricious, as you’d expect, but since she’s a twelve-year-old girl, it’s hard to dislike her.

I loved the steampunk elements of the story, too. The zeppelins and steam trains and Bella’s metal wings. So many cool details made Everland a sharply memorable book. If you liked the Lunar Chronicles (like Cinder) or Spindle Fire by Alexa Hillyer (though Everland is not as dark), you need Everland on your reading list.

Everland on AmazonRecommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Main characters are white. Hook is German. Gwen and the others are English.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
A couple of lines like so-and-so let loose a string of profanity. No actual profanity.

Romance/Sexual Content
Vague reference to the fact that if Gwen is the last girl, she might be in danger of being assaulted. It’s super vague and no real danger happens on that topic. At one point boys snicker a bit about her joining their group and she comments that she doesn’t even want to know what they’re thinking. One brief kiss between a boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violent Content
Hook recalls a childhood memory: he offered his mother an apple, not knowing it was poisoned. She retaliates by destroying his eye. He brands a boy with hot metal. Some brief violence in fights involving knives and gunshots. In one scene, a boy gets attacked by crocodiles. It happens quickly, and the crocs drag him away. At one point, a girl cuts off a boy’s hand and throws it to crocodiles.

Drug Content
Hook drinks from a bottle of rum. Lost Boys drink what appears to be beer.

Everland on Goodreads

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she's not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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