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Golden, Christopher. Straight on 'til morning.

GOLDEN, Christopher. Straight on 'til morning. Penguin, Roe. 336p. c2001. 0-451-46106-1. $14.00. S

Golden, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran author and winner of the Stoker Award, has crafted a coming-of-age horror/thriller that doesn't take off until midway or later through the book; but once it does, it takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go. A takeoff on the Peter Pan story, as the title suggests, Golden's story follows the adventures of adolescents Kevin Murphy; Nikki French, a neighbor he's been secretly pining for; and bad boy Peter Starling, who steals Nikki's affections from Kevin. The reader spends a lot of time getting to know Kevin and learning about his unrequited love for Nikki, a girl two years older than he is. Then Peter enters their world, everything takes on new meaning, and the plot begins to move. Kevin is shocked into action when Peter kidnaps Nikki and whisks her off to Neverland--a strange and imaginatively drawn place very unlike Barrie's Neverland. This one is inhabited by odd creatures, monsters, and a race of less-than-human beings; all are at war with each other. Taking along some of his friends, Kevin mounts a rescue and the tale becomes even more fantastic and exciting. An abrupt ending, however, may lead some to feel left high and dry. Perhaps there's a sequel in the works.

There's lots of teen angst and an authentic feel for adolescent problems and feelings. But it takes the author a while to lay it all out for the reader, and by that time some young readers may lose interest in what was supposed to be a horror tale. Joseph DeMarco, Philadelphia, PA

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:DeMarco, Joseph
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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