Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Anybody who knows me knows I love 2 things: Peter Pan and gay shps. So when my friend and I stumbled across Last Bus to Everland in a bookstore, I had to get it--I mean, modern day, gay Peter Pan? Sign me up now.
Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron
Following 16-year-old Brody Fair, Last Bus to Everland is a sweet, simple read about first love, growing up, and finding yourself, an adventure through both magical Everland and present-day Edinburgh. As mentioned above, I found this book by chance in a bookstore and fell in love with the concept right away. This review is my honest opinion, nothing more. I was not given an ARC or otherwise free copy in exchange, and I do not know the author.
Blurb: Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a "knock-off Narnia" that opens at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.
Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again.
Review: I was super excited to read this when I got it, and it didn't disappoint. Brody was relatable right from the start (maybe just because I'm also obsessed with Peter Pan and would totally name a cat Tinkerbell?) and Nico proved to be an incredible Peter Pan style character. Colorful, fun, charming, sympathetic, and endlessly lovable. The entire cast, in fact, pulled me in right away. I loved the diversity, the development of them, their complex and very real and raw relationships. Last Bus to Everland does not shy away from difficult topics, tackling LGBT+ relationships, mental illness, bullying, disabilities, and more with grace and sensitivity, and without relying on them to act as the cornerstone of the plot or characters. Not to mention the time given not just to romance but to building and exploring the ups and downs of friendships and family. It was in equal parts entertaining, heartwarming, and heartbreaking to watch it all unfold.
And can I just say, I'd kill to find a door to Everland. It was everything you'd want from any version of Neverland--a so-called "kaleidoscope" of enchanting places and people.
I'm struggling to find criticism beyond wanting more of it, because honestly, if it's the kind of book that's up your alley it's incredible. If you're looking for action or daring rescues or world-saving adventures you won't find them here, but you'll find a smaller kind of magic. For a character-driven read to make you laugh and cry and hug the book to your chest it's a pretty perfect choice.
Though a few more pirates wouldn't have been bad. It'd be a lie to say I wouldn't have loved to see Nico with a sword.