Book Reviews


“You were created for more than to bear the weight of your shadows—but you have to choose to no longer let them define you. You have to choose to let the light shine through the shattered pieces.”

-Kara Swanson, Dust

A few books have made me cry.

Dust by Kara Swanson is one of those gems.

It’s a Peter Pan retelling about a girl named Claire who creates pixie dust that can make dreamers fly—or make them burn. It’s a dangerous power she can’t understand nor control. Desperate to find her missing brother, she runs into the disgraced Peter Pan who is trying to return to Neverland. Claire thinks that Peter can help find her brother, but she doesn’t know that Peter has horrible secrets of his own.

This story had humor, twists, turns, romance, and adventure. Kara’s prose was beautiful. Reading her words was like touching stardust and riding the bittersweet roller coaster of despair and hope.  Dust bore the touching theme of beholding light in the darkness, of seeking life in the chaos of heartache.

Kara didn’t shy away from depicting Claire’s mental turmoil and Peter’s flaws. I found myself loving these characters, being annoyed at them for hurting each other (and hurting themselves), and in the end, I was cheering them on as they pushed toward personal breakthroughs.  These two characters were broken people caught in the struggle of finding Neverland because Neverland in this tale wasn’t the “happy-go-lucky” Disney version we all knew.  Neverland in Dust was a wounded place (A poignant twist!). And before they could save Neverland and the people they loved, Claire and Peter had to save their own hearts first.

One thing I definitely loved the most about this story was Claire finding light in herself, despite the darkness her gifts could potentially unleash.

If you want a whimsical, hopeful tale featuring a cheeky, smart-talking Peter Pan, I highly recommend this story!

[ID: A cover of Dust by Kara Swanson shows a Claire and Peter flying over London with a flurry of stardust in their wake.]

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