Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan’s Children Publishing Group for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Thoughts and Themes: I was so glad to get a chance to read this one because of how much Cemetery Boys meant to me. I had started reading this one on e-book when Libro.Fm gave me an advanced listening copy so I switched over to audiobook. I had just started listening to this one when I saw other people’s reviews on it and their concerns but decided to read it for myself and I am so glad that I did.
I do not recall seeing any other Peter Pan movie besides the Disney one and I definitely have never read the story. It’s hard for me to talk about how much I enjoyed this book because the parts that I enjoyed come in the explanation of the story. That whole explanation was so great but it also would give you all some spoilers so I’m keeping that out of my review.
I think that even if you are familiar with the original Peter Pan story , this one is going to surprise you because of how different it is. I liked that this one has familiar characters so it feels nostalgic but the background story is differen.t I like the way this changes from the original story and I love the inclusion of Peter’s shadow as a potential villain to this story. This story felt a lot like revisiting movies from my childhood as I remembered watching Peter Pan with my parents. At the end of this story, I actually ran to my parents room to ask if I had gotten the original story wrong and if Peter Pan was supposed to be such a dark tale.
I really liked all of the tropes that were included in this story and there are moments that I was laughing and moments in which I was tearing up. I know that a lot of people had issues with this story not having queer characters in it but for me it was still a story that was written by a queer author. This story was so different from Cemetery Boys but it also has some similar themes and feelings to it. It still gave off the feeling of teenagers hiding something from the people around them to protect themselves and ultimately needing to save themselves.
Characters: I knew I would love the characters right as I started reading the story because how could I not love Peter Pan. He’s one of my favorite Disney characters so I love getting to read other’s interpretations of him. I also liked how this Peter grew up physically but mentally he was still a child, this aspect of the story made him so much more likeable and fun.
I was also really glad to see a different interpretation of Wendy and be heartbroken for her. I thought it was great to see Wendy dealing with her grief and to see PTSD play out in a character so young. I also thought it was great to see PTSD play out in a character for other reasons than what has been typically shown through media.
I liked that we got to see a glimpse of Jordon, Wendy’s best friend and see how she plays a role in this story. While we don’t really get to know her, I still liked the pieces that she is included in and the role she plays in Wendy’s life.
Writing Style: I actually read this one on e-book and listened to pieces of it on audio so I want to comment not just on the writing style but also the narration. The narrator on the audio version of this book is great and easy to listen to. I liked how they changed the voice for each of the character’s talking and how the tone shifted along with the pacing of the story.