Five Reasons to Read: Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith – A Critical Yet Joyous Reimagining of Peter Pan that Centers Indigenous Perspectives

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Tagline: Lily and Wendy are taking their story back. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

In this modern take of the popular classic Peter Pan, award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) brilliantly shifts the focus from the boy who won’t grow up to Native American Lily and English Wendy—stepsisters who must face both dangers and wonders to find their way back to the family they love.

Stepsisters Lily and Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage—to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland.

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family—and their friendship?

Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children.

A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.

One of the biggest reasons why I love a good retelling of a classic is how the retelling reimagines the story from a modern perspective. Classics, though beloved for good reason, aren’t always perfect and oftentimes carry with them archaic and harmful perspectives that reflects the times in which it is written.

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Book Recommendations – 9 Books by Indigenous Authors that We’ve Read and Loved!

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

November is Native-American Heritage Month, and we wanted to share the joy of indigenous books with you all! Heritage Months are a call to reflect on and thoughtfully engage with colonial histories and realities, but they can also be an opportunity for us to uplift and celebrate achievements of Indigenous people. Though today’s book recommendation post takes place during Native-American Heritage Month, our hope is that you will read these books, not just in November, but also every other year of the month as well and engage with Indigenous literature all year long.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with K. Ancrum, Author of Darling – On Writing Fiction for Teens, Diverse Ensemble Casts, & Retelling a Beloved Classic

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

The book we are about to discuss today is—and I do not say this lightly—a masterpiece. It’s a marvelous thing of one-night escapades and nail-biting tension culminating in a horrifying twist; tender and thrilling and hilarious in equal measures. 2021 has been a year of years so far, and it’s truly a testament to the book’s staying power that I still vividly remember the adventure I went on while reading it. I rarely am this certain that a book will make my personal ‘best of year’ list this early on, but goodness, friends, if there’s any story that deserves a spot in 2021, it’s Darling. I am so, so honored and delighted to be welcoming K. Ancrum to the Pond today to discuss her absolutely unforgettable YA thriller retelling of Peter Pan!

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Book Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse – Gods, Monsters, Monster Hunters, and a Wickedly Awesome Adventure Across the Dinétah

Synopsis:

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

My review:

It’s not often that I use ‘cool’ to describe a book; ‘brilliant’ and ‘wonderful’ seem to be my go-to adjectives, but ‘cool’? Cool is now a word I want to exclusively use to describe Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. Trail of Lightning is a Native-American inspired urban fantasy that takes place in the Navajo reservation following a post-climate-apocalypse.Enter Maggie, a gifted monster hunter who lives in this new world, and her journey across the reservation to uncover the mystery of a brutal monster and the truths she won’t face about her past.

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