Karen Wallace, Author . S&S $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-689-86769-9

In this oddly disconcerting novel, Wallace (Raspberries on the Yangtze ) imagines the well-to-do Edwardian household and society that engulfs Wendy Darling before she meets Peter Pan. Her Wendy is a curious, somewhat introspective girl who learns more than she bargains for when watching one of her parents' lavish parties from an unobserved spot on the stairs. She sees her father kissing a neighbor's wife; worse, she has to play with the neighbors' spiteful daughter. All the while, the Darling children suffer the cruelty of their capricious and callous nanny. Wendy's only solace is her loyal dog, Nana, with whom she converses as she begins to understand the pretensions and hypocrisy of the adults around her. The family's misery increases exponentially, and then Wendy discovers another family secret: the disturbed but much-loved boy who lives near her uncle's country estate is really her older brother (his condition prevents him from growing up). This revelation apparently explains the tensions underlying the Darling household, which then begin to resolve themselves rather easily. Wallace assigns the adults most of the action, leaving the children, particularly Wendy, to founder in their wake. Readers who enjoyed the whimsy and child-centered plotting of the J.M. Barrie story may be disappointed to find instead a hazily told tale of family dysfunction, and may wonder why, given this history, Wendy wouldn't opt to take up permanent residence in Never-Neverland. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 12/01/2003
Prebound-Glued - 307 pages - 978-0-7569-5658-5
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-689-83748-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4169-0314-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-9963-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-33919-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2537-3
Hardcover - 307 pages - 978-0-689-83747-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-1653-1
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