Thursday, March 25, 2021

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Lost on the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas - Book Tour + Giveaway

Lost in the Never Woods
Aiden Thomas
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: March 23rd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

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Excerpt
Peter dropped his hands, tucked his bottom lip under his front teeth, and produced the quiet thrum of cricket chirps.

It sounded just like the crickets that lived outside her window. Wendy fell asleep to that sound every night during the summer. The edges of his lips quirked up and the lantern’s light sparked in his eyes. Peter continued to make the gentle chirps. The sound melted the knotted muscles in her shoulders.

Memories of catching crickets at night with her brothers danced in the back of her mind. John quietly waiting in one spot with a paper cup in his hand, listening hard to find one of the musical insects. Michael careening through the bushes when he caught one, scaring the rest off. John always threw a fit. They were never able to catch more than one at a time. They would put it in a jar, turn off the lights in their bed- room, and sit in silence—after Wendy told Michael to shut up at least three times—until the cricket felt safe enough to start singing for them. Even in the dark, she could always tell that John and Michael were smiling just as much as she was.

It was one of her favorite sounds.

“You’re really good at that,” she said softly as she stared up at Peter. They weren’t walking anymore.

He gazed down at her, no longer chirping. The way his eyes searched hers made her want to look away, but it seemed impossible to manage right now.

“You really don’t remember me?” he asked quietly, tension caught in the lines of his face.

“How could I remember you? We just met . . .” She lied because the truth just didn’t make any sense, no matter how much she wanted to believe it.

“What about your dreams? Do you not dream about me anymore?” he pressed.

Wendy squinted. “My dreams?”

Sadness, almost a sort of hurt, fell across his face.

“You can’t dream about someone you don’t know . . .” Could you? The sound of the crickets floated back to her even though Peter’s lips were completely still.

Peter’s chest rose and fell in a sigh. “It’s me, Wendy. Peter. Peter Pan.” His blue eyes bored earnestly into hers. He closed his hands around both of hers. “I know you remember me, you have to . . .”

Wendy felt like she wanted to cry, laugh, and run away all at the same time. She shook her head quickly. “That’s not possible. Peter Pan isn’t real,” she told him. Even as she said it, she felt herself doubting her own words. A part of her wanted to believe, as silly as it felt.

One thing was certain: He knew who Peter Pan was. So, even though she fought against it, the truth was that he’d heard the stories before. At some point, she had told him.

Wendy Moira Angela Darling!”

Her father’s voice cut through the night. Wendy looked around. They were at the edge of the woods. The crooked white fence of her backyard was no more than twenty feet ahead.

She could see the back door to her house through the sparse trees. The kitchen lit up her father’s bulky silhouette.

Where have you been? It’s the middle of the night! I’ve been calling you for hours!

Wendy knew her phone was in her pocket and on silent, as always. The ringer always made her jump, and she found the vibration setting just as jarring.

“I—” Wendy turned, but Peter was gone, leaving her to stand alone at the edge of the woods, her hands cold, the lantern gone with him. “Peter?” she hissed into the darkness. She stood on her tiptoes and tried to peer deeper into the trees. “Where are you?”

But no one was there.

Wendy swallowed and faced the house. Behind her, the breeze through the woods tickled the back of her neck. They were only slightly more terrifying than her father waiting for her at the door.

She half ran to the fence, clumsily climbed over, and steeled herself against her father’s angry glares and shouts as she crossed the backyard.

He stood there, red-faced, his large fingers gripping the doorframe. Wendy wouldn’t have been surprised if he ripped it right off. “Were you in the woods?!” he demanded. Spittle flew from his lips as he yelled.

Wendy tried to think up some reasonable excuse, but her mind was back in the woods with Peter. “No, I thought I saw something, so I was just looking—”

“Don’t you dare lie to me, Wendy!” he said.

Wendy’s face turned red. She didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t tell him the truth. If he knew she had been     in the woods with the boy from the hospital—who the police thought might be connected to her and her brothers’ disappearance—well, Wendy had no idea what he would do, but it wouldn’t be good.

She felt guilty and, to her surprise, scared for Peter. He was out there alone with only the hunting shack as shelter.

For the second time in the past twenty-four hours, she wondered if she would ever see him again.

“I—”

“And what happened to you?” His chest swelled and his face darkened from red to purple.

Wendy looked down at her torn pant leg, felt the throb of her head. Luckily, the pain had subsided to a dull ache. “I was sitting on the fence and fell off by accident,” she said.

“I forbid you from going into those woods.” His eyes glared into hers, but they had a glassy sheen. “I thought you were smart enough to know better after what happened!”

Wendy winced.

No, she couldn’t tell him the truth. Not until she figured out what to do about Peter. But this also wasn’t a situation she could lie her way out of.

“I’m sorry, Dad,” she said quietly.

Her father breathed heavily through flared nostrils. Wendy braced herself for more shouting, but his shoulders sank. “Just go to bed,” he told her, his voice now a low rumble. She almost preferred the yelling. The defeated tone just made her feel worse.

He moved out of the doorway to let her pass. As she did, he lifted his hand. Wendy thought he was going to place it on her shoulder, but he hesitated and let it drop back to his side. “Stay out of there,” he repeated.

Wendy nodded and crossed her arms over her chest. “I will.” She didn’t blame him for being mad at her.

She wasn’t the only one who’d lost something in those woods.

Author Bio:

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, winning Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram


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4 comments:

  1. Aiden Thomas is a new author to me, but I look forward to reading this. I always love meeting new authors. Thanks to this blog for the introduction.

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  2. I like the cover end synopsis, this sounds like a great book to share with my teen-aged grandchildren. Thank you for sharing the book and author details

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