Four Stars  

 

Claire is an emotional mess. In addition to losing her beloved twin brother and only family six years earlier, she has some kind of skin condition that causes flakes the color of gold to slough off her skin whenever she is upset. She is upset a lot as she searches for her brother. She has aged out of the foster care system, and nobody cares where a runaway boy may have disappeared to.

 

A clue leads her to sell all she has to go to London and Kensington Park with its statue of Peter Pan. The park also has an enigmatic young man. He seems to know where brother Connor went, but he won’t tell Claire. Neither will his companion or the policeman who directed her to the park. Doggedly, Claire pursues all the clues she can find.

 

This book grabs you by the throat at the puzzling beginning and doesn’t let you go until the end. I longed for some breathing space, but there was none except for the occasional pause for some self-help advice like this: “What’s important is learning how to mend what we’ve broken and doing our best to move forward.”

 

“What’s important is learning how to mend what we’ve broken and doing our best to move forward.”

 

I loved the gut-wrenching opening of the book and subsequent adventures. Unfortunately, later in the book the plot seemed to devolve into romance where two people focus on the thrills they feel whenever they touch. I despise the idea that has ruined the lives of many people I grew up with, the idea that if a good girl loves an exciting bad boy strongly enough, then he’ll become a good boy. That’s not how life works. My estimation of the book was rapidly dropping when the author took a twist that turned the typical romance focus on feelings into themes about becoming an adult and taking responsibility. Those are themes I can get behind and wish more books had. I look forward to the next book and finding out how the author develops the themes as the characters go on a truly long journey.

 

I recognize that for most readers, romance is a desired feature, not a bug. Let me reassure those readers that there is still lots of romance even at the end of the book.

 

Claire becomes friends with a character from Neverland who gives her lots of wise advice and encouragement. For example: “You have value simply because you exist.”  A number of her new friends remind her, “You were made to fly.” Nearly everyone in the book is challenged in their faith and faced with the necessity to grow up.

 

You were made to fly

 

Any woman who has been upset enough to engage in cutting will find deep empathy with some of the characters in the story. Anyone who has been truly confused about who to believe as well as what to do will understand exactly what Claire is going through.Anybody who loves Peter Pan and wonders what happened next is likely to love this story. I recommend this book heartily to fantasy lovers age fourteen and up. Some of the themes are a little too mature for younger readers.

 

Genre: YA fantasy

Ratings:

Heat: There’s some light kissing

Cursing: The few curses use words disguised by spelling or use of English words Americans don’t recognize as curses.

Violence: There is fantasy fighting and mention of the practice of cutting.

 

Dust is available on Amazon

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book with a request for an unbiased review.

 

Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children. Everyone survived. She also homeschooled fourteen years with similar results. You can find her Christian science-fiction, A Shattered World in English or Spanish. She writes science fantasy adventure, Tales from Talifar with her oldest son, a video game artist, under the name Rose Foreman. You can contact Josh Foreman at breathoflifedev.com

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