Sunday, November 19, 2006

Straight On 'Til Morning - Christopher Golden

Straight On ‘Til Morning
Christopher Golden

Dark Fantasy

Kevin Murphy is 13 and in love with his neighbor and best friend, 15-year-old Nikki French. That this love is unrequited makes the situation only slightly more painful, as anyone who has ever been a teenager can tell you. Kevin’s anguish worsens when it becomes clear that Nikki is one of those girls who is compulsively attracted to the ‘bad boy’ sort. She swears this new boy is different, but when Kevin meets Peter Starling, he knows that Nikki is very, very wrong.

While Kevin attempts to get Nikki to see reason without losing her friendship, her relationship with Peter progresses. One night, Kevin witnesses Nikki’s abduction by Peter. To his shock, he watches Peter and Nikki fly over his head, and hears Peter say something about “second to the right… and straight on ‘til morning.” Enlisting the help of his brother and friends, Kevin mounts a rescue attempt. He has no idea that they’re about to enter a world that no human was meant to see: Neverland.

This is not the Neverland that Disney envisioned. This is a dark, and violent place, populated by various mythological creatures, and being torn apart by a civil war. While the pacing in the first half of the story is a bit slow, the deep characterization makes everything that comes after that much more important. It’s a beautiful rendering of the pain and joys of being 13 and poised between childhood and adulthood. The second part, set in Neverland, has a dark beauty of its own, and seems to move more quickly. I was honestly disappointed when this one came to an end. I hope there will be a continuation of some sort in the future. This is an unusual blend of coming-of-age and dark fantasy, and not to be missed.

Rating: 8 ½
September 2006 (reissue)
ISBN# 0-451-46106-1 (trade paperback)

NOTE: Despite the Neverland and Peter Pan references, this book is not intended for children/young adult readers.


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