The best Peter Pan books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about Peter Pan and why they recommend each book.

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Hook's Tale

By John Leonard Pielmeier,

Book cover of Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

Growing up, I was always more intrigued by Captain Hook, the villain of Peter Pan, more so than I was the title character. John Leonard Pielmeier writes an incredible “memoir” from the most famous fictional pirate and uses the beloved characters from the Peter Pan story of our childhoods in a whole new way. The backstory with Smee, the conflict with the infamous crocodile, and all the major things we see in the classic story are told in a whole new way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend reading in tandem with the original Peter Pan for a fun way to see two sides to a story.


Who am I?

I’m a criminal defense attorney, mom, and wife who grew up along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and lived there for 35 years, staring out at the vast water of the “Inland Seas” aka The Great Lakes. Intrigued by pirates, the criminals of the water, and the stories of pirates roaming the lakes, when I began writing fiction, I absolutely had to write a modern pirate series set in the area where I grew up. I’ve read dozens and dozens of historical non-fiction books about pirates, watched all the classic films and shows about them, and have read pirate romances my entire life, so writing my own was the next logical step.


I wrote...

Squall Line

By Gwyn McNamee,

Book cover of Squall Line

What is my book about?

Warwick “War” Pike is the captain and leader of a crew of modern pirates who operate on the Great Lakes and work for the Italian mob in Chicago. War doesn’t have rules for his crew—lie, maim, steal, do whatever it takes. Except take hostages. When the crew tries to take a cargo vessel on Lake Michigan, he ends up on the wrong end of a shotgun held by the beautiful and feisty redheaded captain—Grace Albright. When War realizes Grace has alerted the Coast Guard, he’s forced to take her with them. Now that Grace is deep in their lair, she’s starting to realize all is not as it appears. Warwick isn’t just a barbaric criminal; there’s something more underneath the surface. Now, her life isn’t the only thing in danger. So is her heart.

A Land of Never After

By R. L. Davennor,

Book cover of A Land of Never After: A Peter Pan Retelling

As someone who writes fairy tale retellings where everyone shares one world as we all do now, I always love the tales that my own characters don’t get to interact with. That’s where A Land of Never After comes in. Featuring a pirate queen a strong-willed Wendy, and a trans Peter Pan. I think the diversity different people expand on is what makes humans so magical in the first place.

Who am I?

I have a passion for fairy tale stories especially ones for adults because they are often the first stories we learned as kids. The ability to look back at how we interpreted them and how our understanding changes over time and culture makes for something that is truly timeless, and therefore like a beloved trope is never the exact same thing twice. Each time only builds on our enjoyment and the many possibilities we can imagine. Not only in worlds of magic, but our own.


I wrote...

The 8th Rank

By Rose Sinclair,

Book cover of The 8th Rank

What is my book about?

In this Big Bad Magic series, fairy tales intertwine to weave a new story about the people many have considered villainous. This MM fantasy novel features a mage without memories, his rebellious childhood crush, and a magic-fueled race to find each other again before the murder of a Queen.

Through retellings, we not only get to see how the world was, but how it is today. The Frog Prince, Robin Hood, and the Mad Hatter are only a few of the wondrous characters the Big Bad Wolf comes across in a journey to reclaim himself.

Peter Pan

By J. M. Barrie,

Book cover of Peter Pan

Peter Pan was one of the first books that made me want to write and create my own worlds. Neverland was an escape, not only for the Darling children but for my earliest stories. It was a place to be anyone, and go on endless adventures, without the limitations of adult expectations. The characters will always be special to me. We may have to grow up, but we can always keep special places like Neverland in our hearts and strive to create worlds that generations of readers will enjoy. 

One note is that while I will always love this book, it was published in 1911 and I cannot endorse the racist portrayals of Native Americans/Indigenous People. As the historical costume community says, ‘vintage style, not vintage values.’


Who am I?

Fantasy has long been a favorite genre of mine for the way you can explore so many different concepts and ideas, and the freedom it gives you as a storyteller. If you feel like you’ve been transported to that world as the story unfolds, I see that as a successful story. Creating vibrant, diverse, new worlds and real, flawed characters for readers is something I strive towards with every project. As a queer author, I find it especially important to give queer characters the hero roles they deserve. The best thing about fantasy is it can be anything, and anyone, from any background, can be the main character.


I wrote...

Queer Windows: Volume 1 Spring

By Cay Fletcher,

Book cover of Queer Windows: Volume 1 Spring

What is my book about?

Love comes in all forms, from enduring friendships, the classic love at first sight, and misunderstandings that unfurl into blooming romance. Queer Windows gives a glance at four fantastical, queer love stories.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

By James Matthew Barrie,

Book cover of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Starting from an early fascination with graveyards, where I would (and do still) like to sit and chat to the dead, making good friends with some of them, I’ve always been drawn to themes about death. And this book is a really dark, peculiar prequel to Peter Pan where an infant Peter ends up as the unofficial gravedigger for dead babies. It’s also a very beautiful book, but defintely not suitable for young children!


Who am I?

Well, apart from having once been a teenager myself, I’ve also raised four teenagers and I know what they like to read, and in return, they’ve all helped me write my own books. I have a pretty eclectic attitude to stories as you can probably tell from the below list. I don't expect anyone to share my opinions, but I'd never introduce a reader to anything that’s just written to make money. 


I wrote...

Primrose Hill

By Helen Falconer,

Book cover of Primrose Hill

What is my book about?

When Danny decides to murder his drug dealer stepfather, in order to save his mother from a violent death, best friend Si is confronted with an impossible moral choice. When fifteen-year-old Eleanor enters the picture, she pushes Si towards murder. Inside info: The first chapter of this book is a true story, the rest is how I think it might have panned out.

The Little White Bird

By J. M. Barrie,

Book cover of The Little White Bird

Having written an evolved installment of the Peter Pan saga myself, I’d be hard-pressed not to have Peter Pan’s first appearance in the literary world not on this list. Often overshadowed by JM Barrie’s second and more popular novel featuring Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy, it was actually in The Little White Bird where Peter first made his boyhood appearance, playing with his imaginary friends in the Kensington Gardens of England. This is a great look at Peter’s early development and documents his early thirst for adventure. The character of Peter was so popular upon the release of this book, in fact, that JM Barrie went on to write his most famous work next. When I read this story, I still have flashbacks of myself as a child, playing in my backyard where my mind would take me on timeless and limitless adventures…  


Who am I?

Ever since I was a boy I was always fascinated by the tale of Peter Pan. His adventurous, rebellious personality, his self-assuredness, and his ability to fly made him the perfect role model for a young boy that wanted the most out of his life. As I’ve moved through the world, I’ve found I’ve subconsciously carried Peter’s spirit with me, both in my career and in life. By entering the entertainment industry as a full-time writer, actor, and filmmaker, I feel I’ve come as close as I can to making a life out of play, storytelling, and adventure. 


I wrote...

Son of Neverland

By Cal R. Barnes, Adrian Doan Kim (illustrator),

Book cover of Son of Neverland

What is my book about?

Neverland. Evolved. One hundred years after the fall of Captain Hook, a vengeful explorer seeks the council of a dark god to retake Neverland, and there’s only one boy who has the power to stop them.

But Peter’s not alone. He has his battle angel, Tinker Bell, and his lover, Princess Tiger Lily by his side. The lost boys and tribal warriors also support him on his quest to save Neverland from its doomsday. Will the eternal paradise of Neverland survive the darkness of Time itself? Only one god will remain to tell the tale.

Lost Boy

By Christina Henry,

Book cover of Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

I will unashamedly tell anyone I meet that I am obsessed with Peter Pan. I wished I’d written it myself and will one day write a retelling. Because, honestly, sometimes the retelling is better. When Peter is darker, when Neverland is madness… or more so than it already is.

Lost Boy was not what I expected. The ending got me hard and I’m completely obsessed with this book. I don’t even want to explain anymore. Just please read it. 

Most of us are familiar with the original story thanks to the cartoon movie, but if you haven’t yet read the original book, I highly recommend that because it is a lot darker than you might think. I remember being blown away by it when I finally read it as an adult. 

And then you can go on an obsessive read-a-thon of all retellings, starting with the magnificent Lost Boy


Who am I?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember and my stories always edge towards darkness. If darkness is a cliff-face, I stand precariously on the edge, taking my readers with me and maybe… eventually… giving them a little shove. Sorry, not sorry. As a writer of dark YA fantasy, it is both my duty and privilege to read as many dark fantasy stories as possible. My series, The Relic Trilogy, isn’t all sunshine and happiness. Whenever I see a review where the reader admits they ended up in a puddle of their own tears, I celebrate because that is precisely what I’m here for folks. 


I wrote...

Relic

By Bronwyn Eley,

Book cover of Relic

What is my book about?

In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow. As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place. It’s an appointment that will kill her. As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series.

Arthur Rackham

By James Hamilton,

Book cover of Arthur Rackham: A Life with Illustration

A fascinating in-depth insight into the personality, career, and work of Rackham, who I view as the king of the golden age of illustration. His fine draughtsmanship and ability to create fantastical worlds and characters that range from the grotesque to the beautiful inspired me from an early age. The pages are packed with artwork done in his trademark pen and ink and watercolour. 


Who am I?

I'm a self-taught artist and sometimes a sculptor. I'm best known for illustrating the Discworld novels of Sir Terry Pratchett which I have been working on for almost 30 years. Not having had formal training, looking at the work of other artists was an important part of my learning. I have a large collection of art books and have been inspired by all sorts of creatives ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to Jamie Hewlett. I'm often drawn to draughts-people who have a scientific approach to their work and limited use of colour. If I can’t escape to a gallery for inspiration I can always turn to the pages of a book.


I wrote...

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

By Paul Kidby,

Book cover of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

What is my book about?

I am delighted to present Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Imaginarium: a comprehensive collection of my own illustrations painstakingly selected after many weeks spent rummaging through my portfolios. The resulting pages of this book not only look back at works past, but they also look forward – with newly created artworks in celebration of the amazing ongoing legacy that Sir Terry Pratchett created for us all.

Dear Mr. Brody

By A.M. Johnson,

Book cover of Dear Mr. Brody

Beautifully written words with a lyrical like feel are what I know I’ll always find within the pages of an A.M. Johnson book. The emotions she wrings from me every time are astonishing, and yet I never feel like I’ve been banged over the head with them like you sometimes get in some heartfelt stories. This is a male-male romance, and even if you don’t think this is your sort of thing, I still highly recommend it because it’s just gorgeous.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing romance for most of my life, and I found the stories I was truly drawn to were the ones where I got to know the characters deeply and personally before they got their hard-earned happily ever after. I want to feel like not only the main characters are my new best friends, but also their friends and families. I want to live beside them as they go through this wild ride called life. So, those are the books I set out to write...stories telling about life’s ups and downs, dreams cast aside and remade, and families found along the way. Achingly heartfelt romance with resilient characters readers will adore.


I wrote...

Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

By L.J. Evans,

Book cover of Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

What is my book about?

He’s a country-rock legend aching for a real connection. She’s a single mom stuck in the loss of her past. A letter brings them together and flips their worlds forever.

A heartfelt slow-burn about the lyrical, healing power of love with vibrant characters who might leave a permanent mark on your soul.

Sisters of the Neversea

By Cynthia L. Smith,

Book cover of Sisters of the Neversea

In this unbelievably gorgeous take on Peter Pan, Lily and Wendy are step-sisters who must now spend a summer apart. But a mysterious boy has been watching from the window and intends to take them away forever to a mysterious land. This book tackles head-on the problematic aspects of the original story and contains a story both thrilling and fun. Family, sisterhood, and magic reign supreme in this hard-to-put-down retelling. 


Who am I?

I studied retellings as I prepared to write my own take on The Secret Garden. Retelling a classic story can not only usher something like The Secret Garden or Peter Pan into our current time and place in history, but it can also awaken the wonder and magic many of us experienced when reading these tales for the first time in a new generation. It’s been so fun for me to see how modern authors put their own spin on these stories, and I hope you will enjoy them too.


I wrote...

The Edge of in Between

By Lorelei Savaryn,

Book cover of The Edge of in Between

What is my book about?

A spellbinding tale of magical realism and superb, twisty retelling of The Secret Garden, where twelve-year-old Lottie’s colorful world turns suddenly gray when an unexpected accident claims her parents, and she is uprooted from her home to live with an eccentric uncle she never knew she had—on the border that separates the living and the dead.

Second Star

By Alyssa B. Sheinmel,

Book cover of Second Star

Peter Pan has always been a bit of a dark story, I remember as a child being quite concerned about how easy it was to kill Tinkerbell and why Peter needed his shadow stitched back on! Second Star is a modern but dark retelling of this children’s fable, set in sunny California and amongst the surfing community, we follow a 17-year-old Wendy as she searches for her missing brothers. Stepping into a dark world, she finds herself drawn to the Cove’s enigmatic leader Pete but she is also pulled towards his dangerous and drug-dealing nemesis, Jas. This novel shows how a classic can be used as inspiration but the author is still able to make the story their own and I always enjoy reading that.


Who am I?

I have a real love of classic fiction and my first novel The Pretender is a modern-day adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. I discovered this story as a child when a relative gave me a copy to read on the journey home from Scotland. While aspects of the story are frequently copied, the essence of the original novel felt forgotten. It’s such a beautiful story with many of the themes still relevant today that I decided to adapt it so a modern audience could rediscover and fall in love with it all over again. As an author, I draw a lot of inspiration from the classics.


I wrote...

The Pretender

By Katie Ward,

Book cover of The Pretender

What is my book about?

Life for Princess Isabella is far from a dream, trapped by tradition, protocol and the stifling burden of inheriting the crown, she longs to escape her shackles. After fleeing her abusive home, Sophia and Isabella meet at the palace gates. Realising how alike they look, they plan to switch places for one week. What could possibly go wrong? What starts out as a naïve plan to follow their dreams soon takes an unexpected turn with events quickly spiralling out of control. As the nightmare continues around them, it’s a race against time to stem the devastating consequences of their actions.

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