Talk about a book I loved and cannot stop thinking about since I finished. Darling is one of those retellings which manages to both honor the original and transcend it. I could not stop reading this, at times, dark and thrilling contemporary read. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful–so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.
Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends–a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies–the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night–and make sure everyone else does, too?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Having loved Ancrum’s The Weight of the Stars, Darling was one of my most anticipated books for 2021. Ancrum takes us on a roller coaster of emotions and what struck me most about Darling is Ancrum’s use of suspense. We are able to witness that captivating charisma that is often toxic, that hides sinister shadows in the night, and yet is able to persuade us in the morning of one’s innocence. Darling is able to bring to light some of the more sinister elements I never even began to contemplate when encountering the original. The ideas of people stealing into our houses, worlds where we never grow up, and the idea of escapsism.
I buddy read this with Fadwa and we were both unable to stop reading. Darling balances this high suspense atmosphere which only builds as you continue to read. There are moments when the original peeks through, when you see an echo in the shadows. But Ancrum is also able to allow the retelling aspect to shine by examining ethics and morality. By showcasing the shades of grey within our own actions. Darling is not only a close examination of the character of Peter, his flaws and vulnerabilities, but also of Wendy.
The ways in which she discovers her own agency. Speaks up and shows up. All the ways in which she finds her own power and solidarity. The lives and voices of teens who are thrown into precarious situations, needing a leader and friend, a brother and protector. And, ultimately, are immersed in situations beyond their making, while also being the only ones who can right these wrongs. I adore how Ancrum interrogates the original, while also updating and bringing new elements to Darling. Darling is a fast paced emotional story which I have to recommend to everyone!
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