Tom Taylor (Illust: Jon Sommariva)
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
ISBN: 9781761049071
Awards Year: 2023
Category: Book of the Year: Older Readers


Bee and her fellow runaways are their own found family. So when a stranger named Paco saves her life, Bee invites him to join their crew, thinking he's another lost teen. The truth is Paco's not just a lost teen, he's a Lost Boy from Neverland. And he needs Bee and the others to come back with him.

When the group is then spirited away by a foul-mouthed Tinker Bell, they discover that Neverland is not some fun-filled hideaway. It's a war zone under siege by a horde of pirates with a merciless new leader who will stop at nothing to steal the land's magic. Tink leads a fairy army that barely holds them at bay. Peter Pan is gone. And rest of the Lost Boys have been killed. Paco is all that remains ... but he hopes that this group of teens will become the new Lost Ones. These young runaways may be Neverland's only hope - but they're about to learn that it'll take a lot more than happy thoughts to win a war.


The CBCA judges say...

A beautifully presented work, with dark, funny, insightful writing supported by dynamic and powerful images. The story is well-paced, chronicling the journey of a contemporary "found family" tale embedded within the metatextuality of a fantastical Peter Pan narrative. Readers of all ages will appreciate the clever, action-oriented storyline and gloriously rich illustrations, while discerning readers will unpack the hints of the adults' destruction of the world, parental failure, gun violence and domestic violence to add a more serious dimension to the fantasy plot. The characters are believable, and thematic elements of belonging and forgiveness are presented authentically and skillfully. A stunning book with a potent message wrapped up in a ripping good yarn package.