Dust is a new novel by Kara Swanson, published in 2021. I have heard so much about this book; Kara is one of the instructors for the Young Writer’s Workshop and students often mention the book in their favorite book lists. Dust is a modern retelling of the fairy tale Peter Pan.
My sister gifted me with Dust for my birthday, and I was so excited to start reading! I read the book in about two hours during the car ride home from our vacation in Florida.
Peter Pan has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, and this retelling has so much adventure and excitement. The story is set in present-day London, where all the stories about Peter Pan are true.
The main character, Claire, is written very well and is so relatable. While searching for her missing twin brother, Claire must learn that her past doesn’t define her. With help from Peter Pan and his friend Tiger Lily, Claire learns the truth about who she is and has an adventure she never expected.
The storytelling in Dust is some of the best I’ve ever read. Kara’s descriptions of setting, feelings, and events inspired me to be more descriptive in my own writing, and not always focus so much on just the facts or the story. Another thing I found interesting was that she uses brand names. Little Debbie, Circle K (a gas station chain), and Coca-Cola all make an appearance. A lot of books I’ve read use general terms, and I enjoyed how real those little details make the story feel.
The last thing I want to mention is the cover. The first time I saw it, I instantly knew I wanted to read the book. The two figures flying past Big Ben hint at the adventure in store. The title is written in a golden, swirly font, and there’s a sprinkling of gold pixie dust around the title, which plays a big part in the story. The cover has the fantasy vibe that I like to look for.
In conclusion, Dust is an exciting twist on this thrilling classic, and I would highly recommend it, either for family read-aloud time or an afternoon in the shade with a glass of lemonade.