Have you ever wondered if fairy tales could possibly be true? Well, Author Isabel Scheck clearly has and in her novel, Ellie Everlasting, she brings to life the story of Peter Pan and Neverland. When the teenage Ellie Parker is brutally murdered by her girlfriend Olivia’s brother, Owen, everything changes for them. Ellie’s young brother sees the murder and is deeply traumatised by it. Apparently, though, Heaven is full and Ellie (a life-long fan of the Peter Pan story) finds herself waking up, not in Heaven, but in Neverland. All the usual suspects are there; Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the Evil Henry Hook as well as all the lost girls and boys. For Ellie, her awakening in this magical place is more than just her personal fantasy come true, clearly something is amiss in both the real world and in Neverland and Ellie will be forced into a frantic race to save both, before calamity strikes. Able to view the happenings on earth through the Earthly Observatorium, Ellie watches her loved ones as they are increasingly beset by danger and trauma. Despite Ellie’s earthly commitment to her girlfriend Olivia, she finds herself deeply drawn to and attracted to Peter Pan. Can Ellie love a boy in the same way that she so deeply loved her beloved Olivia?
Ellie Everlasting is a young adult novel that takes a different tack to most. The idea of combining a fairy tale with real-life action and adventure is a good one and author Isobel Scheck does a great job of pulling it all together. Her ability to get inside a teenager’s mind and portray their angst so well along with her use of two young lesbian girls as the principal characters of the story was innovative and what lifted this story above its competitors. I particularly liked the dimensions the author built around the character of Henry Hook, a deeply flawed individual but also one who suffered from those perennial problems of loneliness and rejection that went in some way to understanding his glaring imperfections and rage at the world in general. The writing is simple and straightforward and the story easy to read. I particularly enjoyed the complications of Ellie’s relationship with Peter Pan and Olivia’s burgeoning relationship with Evangeline. Both gave the story more focus than your average young adult novel. This was an enjoyable and satisfying read and one I can recommend.