Hi friends! Today I’m coming at you with a review of “Darling” by K. Ancrum, a twisty YA thriller that is a modern reimagining of Peter Pan. On sale now!
An eARC was provided to me by Macmillan through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out my review and learn more about the book and author!
A teen girl finds herself lost on a dangerous adventure in this YA thriller by the acclaimed author of The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars—reimagining Peter Pan for today’s world.
On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.
Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?
Acclaimed author K. Ancrum has re-envisioned Peter Pan with a central twist that will send all your previous memories of J. M. Barrie’s classic permanently off to Neverland.
Content Warnings for “Darling” can be found here.
I would consider myself a Peter Pan stan. I adore the original story and it’s creepy vibe, and I love, love, love reading/watching/listening to any sort of reimagining of it from the Disney Peter Pan to the more unique and darker Pans. So, when I first read the synopsis of “Darling” by K. Ancrum, I knew I had to check it out, and oh am I glad I did.
One thing I loved from the start about “Darling,” was the representation we got of these characters who are typically portrayed as cis white people (aside from Tiger Lily, obvi). We have many characters who are people of color, Wendy herself being Black. And there is so much LGBTQ+ rep. Tinkerbelle and Ominotago (K. Ancrum’s Tiger Lilly replacement) are bi, Eleanor (Wendy’s best friend) is a lesbian, Fyodor is a biromantic asexual, and Curly is “questioning.”
At its core, this book is about found family. But it is also about the vulnerabilities kids, especially BIPOC queer kids, face when they feel like they don’t have a place they belong and thus go out and try to find a place they do. It’s about the abuse many of these kids with these backgrounds face and accept, disguised as kindness and the family they seek.
The way K. Ancrum parallel’s the original story of Peter Pan with this twisty modern thriller is incredible. You sort of go into the book and the first few chapters almost feel childish, and are so close to the story of Peter Pan, that you begin to wonder if someone is going to start throwing around pixie dust and start flying. But ever so slowly and carefully, the layers are peeled back. For the entire book, we’re aware that something is off about Peter, and that everyone is keeping some sort of secret from Wendy. And when the big reveal happens, it’s downright chilling.
I, for some reason, decided to finish reading what I had left of “Darling” well past midnight, in my pitch black bedroom, the only light coming from my Kindle screen. When I finally got to the twist of the story, I felt so creeped out that I literally had to sit up in bed and move so my back was against the wall. K. Ancrum absolutely smashed the reveal, and once I finally learned everything, the entire book fell into place in my brain. It was incredible.
“Darling” comes at my highest recommendation for any fellow Peter Pan stans, or for anyone who loves a dark YA thriller with a good twist.
★★★★☆ = Excellent.
About The Author
K. Ancrum, is the author of the award winning thriller THE WICKER KING, a lesbian romance THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS and the upcoming Peter Pan thriller DARLING. K. is a Chicago native passionate about diversity and representation in young adult fiction. She currently writes most of her work in the lush gardens of the Chicago Art Institute.