Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Peter and the Starcatchers

This is a middle grade origin story for Peter Pan, and while I've never read the original story I can tell that this relies heavily on the Disney animated version. If you've seen that version than you've probably noticed that it's not the most sensitive movie when it comes to Native characters and female characters (actually it's a pretty problematic movie in those regards, if you ask me) so, reading this, I was really hoping for something that might do better on those fronts. And it did!

First off, while there is only one female character relevant to the plot for the majority of it, the book did do a good job working towards including more female characters in the sequels and giving Molly the spotlight as the MVP of them all. She was definitely the smartest and most resourceful character of all the protagonists and also probably the most dimensional of the characters as well. She took no shit and she fought just as hard as all the boys. Secondly, with the Native characters I was at first worried that this would be going down a much different road, what with them being referred to as, and introduced as, "savages". But, BUT, this is a total misdirect on the part of the authors. I don't want to give away anything because it's SUCH a great moment when the characters realize "shit; they're not savages", but trust me, Barry and Pearson do such a good job with these characters and definitely don't allow them to stagnate in the racist role of "savage". I don't want to say it's a plot twist, but it's definitely meant to be a moment of surprise on the readers end so I'll stop talking about it right now.

That's not the only moment of surprise, and while it's not a book peppered with plot twists or anything, it's definitely got some pretty funny moments that seem to come out of nowhere. I wasn't laughing my ass off the whole time, but I was caught off guard several times with how funny some things were (the best scene? The Ladies.). It's also a pretty dark book, at least for middle grade. There's a lot of fighting and blood and even rape is threatened (not in those terms, but an older reader would definitely catch it). Sometimes with middle grade it can feel like the author is talking down to the reader, but this was one that celebrated how smart the readers definitely are and demanded full attention the whole time.

Seeing as it's an origin for Peter Pan it was definitely somewhat predictable in what had to happen. However, it takes its time and sets up all the threads that we see come together in the movies. It took its time with the plot and nothing was rushed. While I could have done with more magic, this is definitely based in reality as much as it can. The Starcatcher society and starstuff was such a fun and interesting idea and I liked what it brought to the story even though it's not fairy dust anymore.

Overall, this is a good read for both older readers and younger ones alike.


  1. Great review! I listened to this one on audiobook awhile ago - the production was nearly perfect! :)

    1. OOO I'd love to hear this on audiobook! I may check it out from my library now (hopefully they have it).


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