Reviewed by Louisa
SERRIES: The Pennymaker Tales #4
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2017
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.
Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.
My usual reviewing strategy is that I read a book blurb and request to review it. Then when the books come, I don’t re-read the blurb I just jump straight in. So when I opened Never by Tara Lain, I was a bit shocked to find that I had requested a book that had a Peter Pan theme. I wasn’t sure what I would be reading and this was my first book in the Pennymaker Tales (which can be read as a standalone), and I was impressed.
The whole concept of opposites is really explored here. Wen Darling is responsible, working a job he doesn’t love to support his siblings and on the other hand Peter is creative, flighty and completely about the moment. I found both Wen and Peter engaging and likable, the way the move together and then the friction of their different personalities worked well for the story. I often thought that they would never work together, but they…. Well you can read and see.
I am a huge believer in secondary characters. For me they make or break a book. And in Never, I think they make it. Hook and the Lost Boys really work for the story. Yes Hook is the bad guy, but he is so well written that I was drawn in (but I still didn’t like him).
My only real negative is a personal preference, and that is I don’t love books based on fairy tales or stories like this. And while I know lots of romance is based on the classic tales, when its overt I usually walk away. On this case I am really glad I didn’t, because it was a very enjoyable read. I will go out and find some other of the Pennymaker books to read now.