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Where is the Monster? Review: Neverland by Margot McGovern

April 3, 2018

Kit Learmonth has returned home from boarding school after a failed attempt to end her life.

Home for the famous Learmonth family is an island dubbed Neverland where Kit’s father, a renowned author, once created a mythical world for his daughter filled with adventure, pirates, selks and mermaids.

Neverland is now far from the fantasy world of her childhood and is literally an island for lost children and is where troubled teens are treated by Doc, Kit’s uncle and a psychiatrist. Despite her return as a patient this time, being home still brings her great comfort at a time when Kit has lost hope.

With the spectre of the tragic death of her parents looming over her, Kit retreats from the real world and re-enters the fantasy. Unsure what the future holds and fighting herself when memories of trouble in her childhood are rising to the surface, she engages in night-time escapes, ill-advised relationships and reckless behavior.

When Kit’s memories of her father as a distracted but attentive genius and her glamorous mother are challenged, she begins to rebel against her uncle and the genuine love he constantly tries to show her. With little thought for anyone around her, Kit spirals into a very dark place.

Kit’s gift for storytelling and fantasy have allowed her to repress a traumatic childhood and the truth about the death of her parents. However, when the ‘monster’ that resides in Neverland re-appears, Kit must now face her greatest challenge to remember what really happened in Neverland on the night her parents died in order to move on.

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.

Many serious issues emerge such as self-harm, anorexia and bi-polar disorder but these are coupled with the challenges of relationships, loyalty and deciding on which direction your future should take.

McGovern has also provided many further reading ideas for teen with references to classics including The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Great Gatsby and a range of others.

Margot McGovern is an Adelaide-based writer who holds a Ph.D. from Flinders University. She is a former associate editor of Ride On cycling magazine and has reviewed for several Australian literary journals, including Australian Book ReviewKill Your Darlings and Viewpoint. Margot blogs at and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @project_lectito.

Purchase a copy of Neverland


  1. Claire Holderness

    This sounds great, I’m definitely going to look for this

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