As part of "Disney week" here at the Library, this is a review of one of the Disney "The Never Girls" series!
THE NEVER GIRLS SERIES
"In a Blink"
By Kiki Thorpe
Illustrated by Jana Christy
A Stepping Stone Book
An Imprint of Random House
"Far away from the world we know, on the distant seas of dreams, lies an island called Never Land. It is a place full of magic, where mermaids sing, fairies play, and children never grow up. Adventures happen every day, and anything is possible.
There are two ways to reach Never Land. One is to find the island yourself. The other is for it to find you. Finding Never Land on your own takes a lot of luck and a pinch of fairy dust. Even then, you will only find the island if it wants to be found.
But every once in a while, Never Land opens its doors to a special few. Believing in magic and fairies from the bottom of your heart can make the extraordinary happen. If you suddenly hear tiny bells or feel a sea breeze where there is no sea, pay careful attention. Never Land may be close by. You could find yourself there in a blink of an eye.
One day, four special girls came to Never Land in just this way. This is their story."
*Looks back over the book* Was there a central theme to this book? It felt more like just an adventure story featuring the four main characters. It was about trying to get home, but then realizing that maybe you wanted to stay a little bit longer since you just got there. Also that sometimes you have to listen to what you are told to know the true character of someone else.
For this one I also want to give you a general synopsis, which is something often I try to avoid. You can see some of the premise above in the information before my pretty new "Central theme" graphic. The story revolves around four girls:
Kate, Mia, Lainey, and Gabby. Mia and Gabby are sisters!
These three girls are magically transported to Never Land (yes, the one from Peter Pan). This is accidently done by Prilla, the fairy (Yes, the same one that helped Vidia in the book I reviewed this week here). Prilla is a blinking talent fairy. Actually she is the only one in all of Pixie Hollow. She is sent to our world to get children to clap to believe in fairies, so they can live. She does not realize that the magic of Never Land is near the girl's house when she appears to Gabby. When Prilla blinks to go home Gabby grabs her and the rest is as they say is history. They are in Never Land, destined to be the Never Girls!
I picked this up on the day that I posted that I was doing a Disney week on my blog. I have always wanted to read this series because I had seen it on the book shelves at my local Target store, but I just never picked it up. I was looking through an app that my local library allows you to use a patron to check out ebooks. I knew I needed a few more Disney related items for this week, so when I saw that this was available I was like "SCORE FOR ME!"
I started this on Wednesday night and finished it on Thursday afternoon. It was a fast read, since it is meant for a slightly younger audience (hey, don't give me the side eye when I say slightly). It was also fast-paced for me because I enjoyed the book. The moment that Gabby clasped onto Prilla I knew they were about to be transported to Never Land and I was ready for that ride they were going on. The plot of this book is rather simplistic, which I believe is primarily due to the fact that it was always planned as a series book for kids. The book revolves around the four girls wanting to go home and trying to figure out how that can happen. They interact with mainly characters from the Disney Fairies world, which I reviewed earlier this week. For me, I enjoyed seeing these characters that I was already familiar with from these other set of books. In this one you had Beck, Tinker Bell, Queen Clarion, Vidia, and of course the catalyst that got them there in the first place, Prilla. Beck and the Queen are the only ones that feels like side characters that were utilized just to mention. The rest are pretty central to the plot in some way.
A great aspect to this, which sometimes irks me in other books, is that you can tell this is setting up for a series. One reason you can tell this is because Prilla goes to drop off a letter to the family of one of the girls to let them know they are okay and it blows away. You know this is going to come up later and cause emotional turmoil for the girls. It is a great little moment that I cannot wait to see when it comes back up. Yes, this means that I will be continuing on with the series.
Probably my favorite moment of this book was based on an one of the earliest moments in the book. Early on Mia, the older sister of Gabby, states that Gabby is too young to do something. Gabby just rolls with it at that moment, but later on in the book (closer to the end) Mia says this to her and basically Gabby gives her a glare that says "I will cut you deep if you say that to me while I am stuck up here in some weird world." Mia was shut down entirely by her younger sister and I was like "Go Gabby!" For me to have that connection with a character I know I was enjoying what I was reading. I also have to say that Gabby was my favorite character, which is primarily because she was the one written with the most heart. She believed in magic, she believed that things the others didn't could be possible. She may have been the youngest, but she was the most mature out of all of them. My least favorite character in this book was definitely Kate, but she is written that way here. She is part of the plot that adds a bit of the adventure element and also is where Vidia comes in. Now truth be told, the adventure element comes in a little late to be meaningful in any substantial way. The book, however, does not suffer greatly from it and is still an enjoyable read, if you understand that it is the first in a longer term series.
I wouldn't recommend this to someone that is not interested in reading a series book because this is rooted in the fact that it is. Every single moment seems to be building up to something else later on. There are little moments where you are not sure if you have been given every single detail yet or not. Also, as stated earlier, the letter thing is obviously coming back later, so it is way to apparent that this is a series book, so if that is not your thing steer clear of this. Also if you don't enjoy the Disney Fairies, like Tinker Bell, then steer clear. They are featured pretty heavily within this book, as they are the only other featured characters outside of the four main girls.
I would recommend this book to someone that wants a well-written children's book. Kiki Thorpe does an amazing job. Applause for you Mrs. Thorpe. You did a great job! Each girl has a distinct personality and I can only see that growing as we go further in their journey through the remainder of books. I also recommend this to anyone that does have a deep affection for Peter Pan and Never Land. I am pretty sure other elements of Never Land will come into play throughout the rest of the series and that this was only set-up to coincide with another popular book series that had been previously published by Disney (the Disney Fairy books). This link helps ease into the stories and will be a great read for a child that wants to be transported to Never Land them self.