An Unofficial Ranking of Peter Pan Retellings

I’m an avid reader of Peter Pan retellings. It’s probably my favorite fairytale (people still consider it one even though it was written in the twentieth century and didn’t really have any oral tradition behind it). I love the story so much I’m writing my own retelling.

There are so many creative retellings out there, and I haven’t gotten anywhere close to reading them all. This is just my ranking of the ones I have read.

Tied for First: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and Tales of the Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Image from Goodreads

This book. I don’t even know where to start, it was so good. The writing was so strong and emotional and raw. I could feel Tiger Lily’s pain, her curiosity, her confusion, throughout the entire book. It really stood out for showing emotions well and for developing characters.
As a Christian, I did not necessarily appreciate the anti-Christian message at one point, but I also understood that, from the perspective the book was taking, it made sense, and the “Christian” character was not behaving in the way a Christian should. That’s my one complaint.
Beyond that, I really don’t see much wrong with this book. I felt such a connection to the characters. As far as the retelling aspect goes, I thought Anderson did a wonderful job. The plot was basically a prequel to the original, and followed a different main character, which gave an excellent new perspective and kept it from being too similar to the original. I also really liked the idea of TinkerBell narrating, and Anderson’s take on the characters. The vibe matched the dark, wild, and free aesthetic we occasionally see in the original, and I absolutely loved that aspect of it. This book was 5/5 stars for me.

Tales of the Wendy series by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

This series. Y’all. This series.
We follow a teenage Wendy in the 1700s as she pursues her dream of being a captain in the British Navy. This book is unlike any other retelling I’ve ever read. It is vastly different from the original, but in the best way possible. It uses familiar characters and plot lines, to a degree, but delivers a unique and fresh perspective.
I love the sailing in these books, the descriptions of being on the sea. Wendy is a strong main character, and a feminist. I appreciate that her feminist ideology is shown in her actions. She actively goes after what she wants. Her relationship with those around her— both those who believe in her capabilities, and those who do not—is very interesting. I especially like her rivalry with Hook, and the way she brings him to respect her knowledge and wisdom.
I could go on and on about this series. It has an adventurous tone and leans into the idea of magic wholeheartedly (which is something we didn’t see in Tiger Lily). This book was a solid 5/5 stars for me.

2. Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

This series will always be near and dear to my heart. My dad read them to my siblings and I when they first came out, and they really caught me up in the world of Peter Pan. Since then, I’ve re-read the series several times, and love it, but cannot think of it as Peter Pan. It’s meant to be a backstory, of sorts, and while I think the tale is good, I don’t think it matches the vibe or magical feeling of Peter Pan.
The characters are lovely, and well-developed over the course of the series. I also liked the idea of Starcatchers. The enemies they faced were very well done; I always like a good villain. These books are full of mystery, hijinks, and danger. They’re a great read, but don’t fit the Peter Pan aesthetic as much as the above two, in my opinion. 4/5 stars.

3. Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

Image from Goodreads

This one is more middle-grade, like Peter and the Starcatchers. Hook’s Revenge is barely about Peter at all; it’s about Hook’s daughter, Jocelyn. I think there’s a sequel, but I haven’t gotten to read it yet.
I quite liked this book, actually. It did not have much of the Neverland feel, either, but the Jocelyn’s adventures, friends, and trials were all very entertaining. I liked Jocelyn’s character, and her quest to avenge her father. It was a very light read, and I’d recommend it as a break from dark retellings or angsts YA books. 4/5 stars.

4. Everland by Wendy Spinale

Image from Goodreads

I gotta say it. I didn’t like this book. It was interesting in theory: a steampunk Peter Pan story. There are a bunch more books in the series, too. However, I just couldn’t get into it. I found the main characters annoying at times and the plot kinda dragged on. It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the direction the plot went, either. Some people may like it, it’s just not my cup of tea, so I give it 3/5 stars.

5. Straight On Til Morning by Liz Braswell

Image from Goodreads

This book was really hard to get through. I think the only reason I read the whole thing was because I had nothing else to read. This book was supposed to be different because Wendy travels to Neverland with Captain Hook. However, she spent barely any time on the ship. Much of the story is spent focused on just Wendy and TinkerBell. I liked Tink well enough, but it got really slow and boring at parts. We barely saw Peter at all. I also think Braswell did not do nearly as well with the feminist aspect of her story as Sky and Brown did with Tales of the Wendy. She just has Wendy return to London and become a women’s rights activist. I think that’s an important role; however, I think if Wendy was supposed to be some great adventurous heroine in this, her life could have been spent proving chauvinists wrong by doing adventurous things and proving herself capable. I don’t know, I just didn’t find it a satisfying or appropriate ending, if that makes sense, especially for an already-boring book. I give it 2/5 stars.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What’s your favorite Peter Pan retelling? Let me know in the comments!

Have an adventurous day!

Love,

Published by Blue

Hey y'all! I'm a teenager who loves hanging out with my friends and laughing till my stomach hurts. I always have a book in my hands or zipped up in my bag. I'll probably read through the apocalypse and not realize what's happened.

7 thoughts on “An Unofficial Ranking of Peter Pan Retellings

  1. My favourite would be Tiger Lily, it was just amazing! I haven’t read the others, but this is a really helpful post, thanks for ranking them! I also want to read Peter Darling by Austin Chant, I heard that’s really good.

    Liked by 1 person

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