Review: ‘Wendy, Darling’ Is the Dark Return to Neverland You’ve Been Waiting For

Wendy, Darling is a dark and twisted sequel to Peter Pan, one that will linger with you once you close the pages of the book. This book is pure magic, without any of the costs that come from Peter Pan’s Neverland. 

Wendy, Darling Is the Dark Return to Neverland You've Been Waiting For

Wendy Darling Cover

Is it completely unreasonable to despise an author because they are so insanely good at writing? Because if it isn’t unreasonable, I am here to make it clear that I hate A.C. Wise simply because she is able to compel a myriad of emotions in the most beautiful, artful, and exquisite prose. Who gave her the right to be able to write with such eloquence? I had other things I needed to do today, but somehow I finished this book in one sitting because I couldn’t set it down. 

I love nearly every adaptation of Peter Pan that I’ve seen or read. I am always ready to get lost in the wonder, terror, and delight of Neverland, but Wendy, Darling is so much more than I could have ever dreamed of. If there are any studios chomping at the bit to fund an imaginative, dark, and dreadful return to Neverland — I’m begging you to greenlight Wendy, Darling

The story centers around a grown-up Wendy Darling who is forced to return to Neverland to rescue her daughter, Jane, from the clutches of Peter Pan. Wise’s approach to Peter is so refreshingly painful, because while he’s a lighthearted mirage in our adolescence, in adulthood we see the insidious nature of the boy that won’t grow up. That steals little girls because he wants someone to be a mother to his boy’s only club. He’s more ruthless and dangerous than Captain Hook ever was because Peter Pan is a harmless little boy on the outside, but a violent shadowy monster underneath. 

A.C. Wise expands on the era of Peter Pan, seamlessly interweaving flashbacks to what the Darling children endured when they survived Neverland. The eldest Darling boy, John, is riddled with the traumas of World War I, Michael is distant and dealing with his own personal struggles, and Wendy is swept away to an asylum to cure — in horrific fashion — of her fantasies of Neverland. Wendy, Darling roots itself fully in the realities, which make the fantastical horrors of Neverland that much more poignant. 

Wendy, Darling is a cautionary tale about the little girls who get swept up by endearing boys, who only mean to keep us caged for their own delights. Peter Pan was always a warning against letting ourselves become the mothers of men who refuse to grow up, but A.C. Wise spells it out in such wondrous, terrifying, and poetic prose that it’s impossible to return to the innocence of our childhood adoration for the boy that never grew up. 

If you’re ready for a more realistic return to Neverland, pick up Wendy, Darling today. You won’t be disappointed, but you will be heartbroken to discover that it’s true that you can never truly go back home. 

Wendy, Darling


The Perfect Dark Return to Neverland


Maggie Lovitt is a writer at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery.

In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.