Today’s guest post comes from Audrey Greathouse, the author of The Neverland Wars!
The Neverland Wars
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
The Blue Dress Theory: Blue Dresses Have More Adventures
I can’t be the only one who has noticed this. Have you ever been reading a book or watching a movie, and when you see a girl in a blue dress, you know that fantastic things are about to happen?
I feel like the girl-in-a-blue-dress is an archetype, cemented in our cultural canon by a few great works of children’s literature. Still, no one ever seems to talk about how anytime a young girl puts on a blue dress she becomes destined for a wonderful journey to a strange and magical new world.
I think Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland started it. The idea of children’s literature as we know it was pretty much invented by the Victorians, and Lewis Carroll wrote the defining children’s book of the nineteenth century. Alice might just be sitting around in a field listening to her sister read, but she’s sitting in a blue dress, so it’s no surprise that moments later she’s tumbling into Wonderland, using that dress as a parachute.
More than half a century later, J.M. Barrie wrote about Wendy Darling’s trip to Neverland, and her blue nightgown became an iconic image through centuries of adaptations. From Mabel Lucie Attwell’s original illustrations to the animated Disney movie, the one thing everyone seems to know for sure is that Wendy would be in a blue dress.
And let’s not forget L. Frank Baum’s contribution to this ppattern Whether she’s in ruby slippers or silver slippers, on page or on screen, Dorthy Gale is always depicted in a blue dress when she makes her way to Oz.
I’ve always thought of Alice, Wendy, and Dorthy as a holy trinity of brave girls, capable of navigating impossible worlds beyond their own. Each is a blue-dress adventuress, who can take the strangeness of magic in stride until she makes her way home once again. I think the world could use more stories about bright girls who can handle themselves in dangerous other-worlds, and when I put Gwen in a blue dress, it was a homage to more than just the traditional depictions of Wendy Darling. I want to bring this trend of competent, feminine smarts and beautiful blue dresses back. I know it’s not dead, because one of the best children’s books that was published while I was growing up did it, too.
You’d better believe Coraline was in a blue dress when she stumbled into her alternate reality and found the enchanting, bewitching Other Mother. Neil Gaiman knows whats up, and so do I. Girls in blue dresses have more adventures, and I’m excited that with The Neverland Wars I can add to the collection of excited, delightful girls who put on a blue dress and go off confidently adventuring, into enchanted new worlds. When Gwen leaves her modern home in suburbia in a blue dress, it is to fly beyond the stars, guile information out of mermaids, outwit other lost children, face-off with a crocodile, and more… because the world needs more girls in blue dresses.
Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com