About the Book
Authors: Kara Swanson
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 21, 2020
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins. The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
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About the Author
As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com.
More from Kara
I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.
Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.
Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.
I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.
Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.
This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.
“A fairy tale has not only become a nightmare but invaded my real life. And there’s no waking up from reality.”
Faith, trust, and pixie dust become the three elements that turn Claire Kenton’s world upside down—again—in Kara Swanson’s evocative novel, Dust, book one of the Heirs of Neverland. Since her twin brother Connor disappeared six years ago, Claire has eked out a hardscrabble existence, never fitting in thanks to an inexplicable skin condition that causes her body to secrete a golden dust-like substance and never giving up on her determination to find out what happened to Connor. Her search leads her to a fairy tale, but this one has a sinister plot and an elusive, if not impossible, happily-ever-after.
A stunning Peter Pan adaptation, Dust is at once nostalgic and unsettling, with the ideal balance of hope and distress. It is dark, but there are just enough cracks in the characters’ armor to allow some light to shine in, and it is a clean read. While not overtly spiritual, the author has adeptly added subtle parallels to the Christian life throughout the story, particularly during the latter half. These serve to inspire readers amidst the struggles that we all share, and will especially resonate with a young adult audience. As Tiger Lily tells Claire, “You have value simply because you exist. Because you are here.” Shortly thereafter, Claire acknowledges that “Lily was right. Hope is a little like pixie dust—it shines brightest in the darkness and makes the soul soar.” The Christian undertones here and at various other places in the story are a balm to the spirit, in opposition to the corrupt forces attempting to destroy Neverland.
Using a dual first-person narrative, Swanson truly breathes life into her characters. The chapters are titled with either the name Claire or Peter, and that character tells the story from their point of view, ultimately resulting in unreliable narrators, which makes the novel even more intriguing. Both characters are sympathetic, although readers are unsure whom to believe because no one is exactly who they claim to be. Swanson nails Claire’s and Peter’s very different personalities and dialects, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, and perhaps best of all, she portrays the vulnerabilities of each of her characters and the reasons behind their choices and actions. Just as Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, so should we live sacrificially and put others above ourselves. As Peter realizes, “[T]his caring for someone is not what I thought it would be. It’s not losing who I am. It’s finding my soul interwoven with another—and chasing the stars together. And that might just be the greatest adventure of them all.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥
Andrea Christenson, July 31
Rebecca Tews, July 31
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1
Texas Book-aholic, August 1
For the Love of Literature, August 2
deb’s Book Review, August 2
Emily Yager, August 2
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3
Blessed & Bookish, August 3
Through the Fire Blogs, August 4
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 4
Worthy2Read, August 5
Losing the Busyness, August 5
Adventures of A Travelers Wife, August 5
Remembrancy, August 6
Wishful Endings, August 6
Inklings and notions, August 7
April Hayman, Author, August 7
For Him and My Family, August 8
Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, August 8
Inside the Wong Mind, August 9
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9
Nancy E Wood, August 9
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10
Mia Reads, August 10
Simple Harvest Reads, August 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Faery Tales Are Real, August 11
Artistic Nobody, August 12
Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12
Pause for Tales, August 12
Just the Write Escape, August 13
Blossoms and Blessings, August 13
To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Excellent review! “Dust” sounds like a must read. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you! This book is one of my favorites so far this year, and it’s going to be so hard to wait almost a year for the sequel!