Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
*First novel of a trilogy/quartet
"In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island, an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil.
"Aboard the Never Land is a trunk that holds the 'greatest treasure on earth'-but is it gold, jewels, or something far more mysterious and dangerous?
"Roiling waves and raging storms; skullduggery and pirate treachery provide the backdrop for battles at sea. Bone-crushing breakers eventually land our characters on Mollusk Island-where the action really heats up."
If you haven't read this novel yet, or even if you have, please, please pick it up! I don't care if you are nine years old or forty-five; it is a book worth reading. This tale has everything a good story should have: suspense, convincing/conniving evil characters, life-like protagonists, magic, and plenty of plot twists. It even has beautiful illustrations. It is super easy to read (it's meant for a younger audience, after all), and took me two days to read it this second time.
I love that this story is basically the back-story of Peter Pan's life and that it explains how he got to Never Land, why he can fly, and all of that crucial, mysterious information that the original story just doesn't clear up completely. And even though it is meant for a younger audience, I still enjoyed this story. It had plenty of good, innocent humor and enough action to keep me on my toes, but then again, I might still be a kid at heart.
The only major qualm I have about this book is that my copy had a lot of little errors, like misplaced quotes, missing words, and the like. I'm sure not every copy is like that, but it did annoy me slightly. I'm reading the sequel now, and it doesn't have any mistakes.
I also wish that the narrator could have given us more insights into Peter's mind, since he is the main character, but I still felt like I knew him. The book does jump around from different characters quite frequently (at the end of every chapter), so that could be a bit overwhelming. But it is still a masterfully written novel, which makes sense, since its authors are the famous Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (who's written the Kingdom Keepers series).
I give this book a 3.5 and recommend it for ages 8 and up.
What I learned: When people use something powerful with good motives, they usually end up using it for evil. Plenty of pirate/ship words, including: aft, dory, yardarm. Oh, and pirates often go around ships barefoot.
Dave Barry's website: http://www.davebarry.com/
Ridley Pearson's website: http://ridleypearson.com/
So, who's going to pick this book up now? Or if you have already read it, what did you think?