9 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book review: Peter Pan in Scarlet

Title: Peter Pan in Scarlet

Author: Geraldine McCaughrean

Review number: 25

Genre: Fantasy

Stand alone/ series: sequel to Peter Pan, by JM Barrie

Summary: Neverland is calling again…Something is wrong in Neverland. Dreams are leaking out-strangely real dreams, of pirates and mermaids, of warpaint and crocodiles. For Wendy and the Lost Boys it is a clear signal-Peter Pan needs their help, and so it is time to do the unthinkable and fly to Neverland again. But back in Neverland, everything has changed-and the dangers they find there are far beyond their dreams

Why did I read this book: I had seen it in bookshops but didn’t have courage enough to read it until my best friend’s 3 year-old daughter , who shares an obsession with all things Tinker Bell with me, said that the book is genius. I kid you not.


In 1929 , Barrie gave all the rights of Peter Pan to his favourite charity: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. IN 2004, the Hospital decided to run a competition to find someone to write an official sequel to Peter Pan. Gerladine McCaughrean , British author, outlined a plot and wrote a sample chapter and won the competition. This is how Peter Pan in Scarlet came about.

When I first read that this was the official sequel to Peter Pan, my reaction was to shudder while a long suppressed memory of another sequel came running back. That of Scarlet, the horrifying sequel to Gone with the Wind. If they managed to turn Scarlet into a wimpy woman who *gasps* redeemed herself, I worried at what they would do to my beloved Peter Pan.

Peter Pan , the original book, is not a children’s book. In my must humble opinion, of course. It is a dark, terrible story of mothers that lose children, of Lost Boys that have to make do with their wonderful creativity while at the same time facing incredibly violent and dangerous situations in Neverland. Of course, they do so fearlessly, even having fun, with their quests and their games , no one more than the Boy that would never grow up, the cocky , ruthless, Peter Pan himself.

So, I got the book and I was very wary. But right from the first pages, I could see I had something special in my hands. For Gerladine McCaughrean managed to capture the very essence of what Barrie wrote those many years ago, and write a sequel that I am sure the man himself would be proud of . All of a sudden Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Neverland where back to life again:

Cok – a – doodle- doo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This book starts twenty years or so after the end of Peter Pan, in London. The Lost Boys who had all been adopted by Wendy Darling’s family are all Old Boys, married with children, living respectful lives. Until they start to dream of Neverland and the dreams are terrible and they suspect something is not right. They find a very clever way to go back, only to find out that Neverland has changed. It is no longer the land of endless summer, autumn has settled in and the place is in shades of red. Peter Pan’s clothes, once made of green leaves, now are adapted to the current season – hence, Peter Pan in Scarlet. But as soon as they arrive, all the memories of their adult lives are left behind – because we know memories are one of the major causes of growing –up –ness and growing up is forbidden in Neverland.

The reunion of old friends is sweet and they set out to play their games, and to begin with, they are oblivious to the fact that something is very wrong indeed: not only the season is completely wrong for Neverland, the mermaids are all dead, the fairies are nowhere to be seen and even though Mothers lose their children all the time, there are no new Lost Boys in sight. They set out in a quest to find a treasure buried by Captain Hook and the farther they go into the land, the closer they are to danger and ultimately the fate of Neverland itself and of the Marvellous Boy hang on the balance. Will they be able to save them? Will they ever be able to go back to their own lives? Is Captain Hook really dead by crocodile eating? Whatever happened to Tinker Bell?

As I closed the last page after an incredible Afterthought , I was awed at the extraordinaire feat of bringing these characters and this world back to life in such a believable and clever way. Even though I sustain that this is not a children’s book, that Neverland is a dangerous place to be, the child in me, rebel against all this growing up business and can not help but to dream that one way it would hear the words:

“Second to the right and straight on till morning”!

Notable quotes/Parts: I loved the Maze of Witches and how it was such a sad place. And the sacrifice that Curly made in order to save Peter, that reminded me of Field of Dreams and Doc.

Additional thoughts: A lot of adaptations, movies and plays are out there but my favorite is the 2003 movie Peter Pan. I thought is was quite a faithful one and this is one of my favorite parts, when Tinker Bell is dying:

Verdict: essential for anyone who has read the first book and loves the story.

Rate: 9, damn near perfection. I want to hug the book.

Reading next: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

You Might Also Like


  • Katie(babs)
    March 17, 2008 at 4:08 am

    I always wondered if Barrie thought of Wendy as a mother figure for Peter or down the line would make Wendy and Peter a romantic couple?
    Perhaps it is just the romantic in me. 🙂
    I also recommend the movie that came out a few years ago with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet where Depp plays Barrie and comes up with the idea for Peter Pan, which started as a play 🙂

  • Ana
    March 17, 2008 at 4:34 am

    Katie, I don’t think they could ever be a couple – Wendy would certainly be happy with it, but Peter could or would never grow up. He just can’t – I have a theory, you see. Peter has only a short memomry, he just can’t remember things after a short time, and without memories, no one can ever grow up. Or maybe I just take it too seriously hahahahaha.

    And Finding Neverland is incredible. Fredie Highmore, the boy that plays Peter, the inspiration behind Peter Pan is just amazing.

  • Thea
    March 17, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Ana, I cannot wait to read this book. It sounds incredible. Peter Pan, the dark original story, has always been a favorite of mine, and this sequel looks awesome. I loved Hook (really, who doesn’t!) but a more serious, darker tone would be great to read.

    And Finding Neverland was wonderful. I was in tear mode at the end. I can’t lie. *sniffles*

  • The Never Fairy
    July 11, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Actually, this book contains many discrepencies with Barrie’s original stories. That’s pretty sad for an “official” sequel to have mistakes.
    Fortunately, there is a new Peter Pan novel…one that’s based on Barrie’s idea to continue Pan’s adventures. Plus, it doesn’t contradict his tale. Check it out by clicking my name!

Leave a Reply