The Wendy Project is a short, but poignant graphic novel based on the classic story of Peter Pan. It begins fairly grounded in reality–a car accident, a broken family, teenage drama–but slowly delves more and more into the magical realism sphere, ultimately coming to resemble its literary predecessor, Peter Pan.
First, the illustrations in this graphic novel are absolutely stunning. They incorporate colour effectively, consistently, and in a way that elevates the plot itself. It’s not often that I read a graphic novel which has illustrations and plot combining so seamlessly.
The plot itself is interesting, though seems a bit lacking at times. The book is very short and could absolutely be longer to give more depth and details to the story itself. While you’re able to get a good idea of what’s happening, and there’s a satisfying beginning, middle, and end, more plot wouldn’t hurt. There were a few instances that had me a bit confused about what was actually happening, but for the most part, it was an easy and pleasant reading experience.
This is a more emotional retelling of Peter Pan, that also plays with the belief that the original Neverland was a heaven of sorts for children killed in the war. This modern graphic rendition takes some of the classic elements of the original Barrie novel, adds 21st-century elements, and spins the plot to involve a grief-stricken and guilt-ridden Wendy, separated from her brother, and searching for him through art, dreams, and Neverland itself.
SYNOPSIS | Goodreads
16-year-old Wendy Davies crashes her car into a lake on a late summer night in New England with her two younger brothers in the backseat. When she wakes in the hospital, she is told that her youngest brother, Michael, is dead. Wendy — a once rational teenager – shocks her family by insisting that Michael is alive and in the custody of a mysterious flying boy. Placed in a new school, Wendy negotiates fantasy and reality as students and adults around her resemble characters from Neverland. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy starts to draw. But is The Wendy Project merely her safe space, or a portal between worlds?