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Kit Learmonth would rather die than grow up and leave Neverland …

After doing herself near-fatal harm, Kit has returned to her island home. But it’s a place she hardly recognises: the witch and the mermaids are hiding and the pirates have sailed to more bountiful shores. In their place is Neverland and its inhabitants – damaged teens too sick to be in regular school, watched over by her psychiatrist uncle. And now Kit is one of them.

Kit has a choice. She can use illicit night-time adventures with friends and mysterious new boy Rohan to avoid the truth. Or she can separate harsh reality from childhood fantasy and remember the night of her parents’ deaths.

What really prompted her family’s departure from the island? Did a monster drive them away? Is the monster still there?


Darkly sublime, subversive and haunting, lush and honeyed – everything I love in a book.


As compelling and treacherous as the sea, Neverland is a punch to the gut, a siren song, an elegy.

Lili Wilkinson, author of THE BOUNDLESS SUBLIME

Neverland is wild and tricksy and tantalising - I fell in love with its pirate heart and gorgeous prose. For anyone who's ever wanted to stay within the pages of a book, or the mists of a dream.

Simmone Howell, author of GIRL DEFECTIVE

McGovern's tale echoes everything from J.M. Barrie to Homer, but is first and foremost a striking, sensitively drawn odyssey that sets sail from the far shore of trauma.

Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald

This impressively original debut from an Adelaide writer had me reading well into the night ... Evolving characters, an overarching mystery, loads of emotion and fine, poetic writing make this a book to savour.

Katharine England, Daily Telegraph

Margot McGovern’s debut novel is a dark and compelling examination of memory, self-determination and the dangers of romanticising the past. Neverland is a beautifully written book for older readers aged 15 and up who appreciate a story with complex characters, depth and grit.

Lian Hingee, Junior Books+Publishing

WOW. THIS BOOK ... It’s so important to see accurate representations of mental health in YA, and I’m thrilled that we can add another brilliant #LoveOzYA novel to the list ... Neverland is definitely a novel that won over my heart. I absolutely adored it.


Filled with suspense, darkness and loss but balanced with camaraderie, bravery and love, Margot McGovern’s richly layered plot explores the world of teens who are challenged by what life has dealt them and the many ways that they physically and mentally deal with these things.


Kit’s story is heartbreaking, yet heatwarming and full of hope


This is a powerfully emotional and mythic work that draws parallels with the journey of Odysseus, cast adrift on the high seas, in pursuit of safe harbour.

Natalie Platten, readings.com.au

Gripping from start to finish, Neverland is a must-read for all lovers of Greek mythology, for protagonists that grow on you, and for the light that leads you to recovery. Kit’s journey will have you crying and laughing, and the honesty of McGovern’s words will take your breath away. It truly is an adventure, and one I would recommend taking.

Sofia, theliterarycasanova.wordpress.com

Neverland is an engaging and emotional read.

Sandra Ciccarello, ReadPlus

Margot McGovern has crafted a masterful and remarkable debut that destigmatises mental illness through characters that will resonate with readers.


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 2, 2018

    Random House Australia Children's

    336 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 2, 2018

    Random House Australia

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks


Speaking with Doc had gummed up my thoughts and left me feeling guilty.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep and wanted nothing more than to disappear into Neverland, so I veered off the path and made my way to Siren Rock, which jutted over Smugglers Cove. The breeze ruffled my hair and I looked to the waves, hoping to spy mermaids gathering the pieces of the moon that fell on the water and carrying them down to light their deep-sea grottos. And when that didn’t work, I pretended that I was Cutlass Kit, a fearless pirate captured by an enemy fleet, stripped of my ship and treasure and marooned on a cursed island ruled by a powerful wizard. To win my freedom, I must outsmart him: devise some potion of my own to weaken the enchantments he cast over me, build myself a coracle and take my chances on the sea . . . But it was no good. The story wouldn’t have me.

Instead, my thoughts turned back to those limbo months when Doc and I inhabited the island like a pair of ghosts in the wake of my parents’ deaths. Seaside daisies withered beneath the cloud of grief that loomed low over the rocks. Its toxic rains polluted the waters, snuffing the fairies’ lights and driving away the mermaids and selkies. The island witch packed up her potions and disappeared into the night on a branch of Norfolk Island pine, and even the bravest of pirates said a prayer for the damned and turned their ships about when the lighthouse came in sight. The Learmonth Curse had returned, starving Neverland of its magic.

I’d spent my days sitting on Siren Rock with my father’s old oilskin clutched tight around me, reading aloud selected passages from Kingdom by the Sea, as though they were incantations capable of restoring lost enchantments, and watched, listless, as boatloads of tradespeople and building materials arrived on the island and the frame of the Restricted Ward rose stark and skeletal against the sky. At night, unable to sleep, I climbed from my balcony and walked between the pillars and beams. Or else, I lay on the concrete foundation, so cold and smooth beneath my hands, and stared up at the stars – those ancient echoes of long dead suns – and felt the hollow at my core expand.

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