Editorial directors Natalie Doherty and Anthea Townsend acquired world rights from Hannah Sheppard at D H H Literacy Agency. Jane Griffith, editorial director, will be taking the project forward. Saving Neverland is published in hardback and e-book in 2023. Great Ormond Street Hospital will receive a charitable donation from royalties earned from the sale of the novel.
Griffiths commented: “I’m so excited to be working with Abi again – she’s a dream author whose incredible imagination not only conjures up brilliant characters, but truly vivid landscapes full of magic and wonder where their adventures unfold. I honestly can’t think of anyone better to reimagine the world of Peter Pan and guide a whole new generation of readers up, up, up into the night sky and off to the magic of Neverland.”
Elphinstone is known for Rumblestar, the first novel in The Unmapped Chronicles, Sky Song and the Dreamsnatcher Trilogy, all published by Simon & Schuster.
The synopsis reads: “Martha Pennydrop is 10, and desperate to grow up. But growing up is a tricky business. It means turning your back on imagination, fun and magic because those were the things that led to the Terrible Day when something awful nearly happened to Martha’s younger brother, Scruff, which would have been All Her Fault.”
“But when Martha and Scruff discover a drawer full of mysterious gold dust in the bedroom of their new house — along with a window that’s seemingly impossible to close — it’s the start of an incredible adventure to a magical world: Neverland! The Pennydrops’ new house used to belong to another family — the Darlings — who once visited Neverland themselves. Now Peter Pan is back, and in need of their help. Neverland is in the icy grip of a terrible curse — cast long ago by Captain Hook. And only Martha and Scruff can save it...”
Sheppard said: “There is a magic to Peter Pan which feels timeless — and Abi Elphinstone is the perfect author to carry that magic into the modern day and onwards to new adventures full of her classic warmth, heart and humour. I love where she’s taken her Neverland inspired tale and can’t wait for children everywhere to meet the Pennydrops.”
Elphinstone added: “‘As a child, I was mesmerised by J M Barrie’s Peter Pan because it tapped into one of my deepest childhood longings – that unquenchable thirst for adventure, and magic. On re-reading the book as an adult, the wonder of discovering Neverland felt just as intoxicating, enhanced perhaps by my understanding of what it means to grow up: the joy and ache and thrill of it all. To be asked to write a modern and inclusive re-imagining of this classic story is an honour and a delight and I hope that in Saving Neverland readers will feel as enthralled in Martha and Scruff Pennydrop’s adventure as they did in Wendy, John and Michael Darling’s all those years ago.”