Story Time Reviews “Lost Girls” by Jane Yolen

Story Time Reviews is a blog series that offers reviews of stories both read and read aloud. Today Story Time Reviews “The Lost Girls” by Jane Yolen is a 1999 winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novelette and a retelling of Peter Pan—with a twist. It originally appeared in the short story collection titled, Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

The colorful, multi-image cover of Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast by Jane Yolen is the original book in which Lost Girls by Jane Yolen appeared

I read it in the short story collection, Sister Emily’s Lightship and Other Stories.

The Story

In this story, Peter Pan has spent years since the original Wendy recruiting more and young girls. These girls are then pressed into a life of service to Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in Neverland. They serve the boys food and do all the cleaning while the boys get to fight the pirates.

And life in Neverland would have continued this way forever, but Peter recruited Darla. And Darla teaches the Wendy’s they can demand equality.

The Author

Photograph of Jane Yolen

Do I really need to tell you who Jane Yolen is? If you’re not into children’s books or Science Fiction and Fantasy, probably no. For the rest of you, here’s a brief summary of who Jane Yolen is.

Born on February 11, 1939 in New York City, Jane Hyatt Yolen was the first born of Will and Isabel Yolen. 

Her mother, a social worker, quit working jobs outside of her home after Jane was born. But she did volunteer work, wrote short stories that didn’t sell and crossword puzzles and acrostics that did.

During his lifetime, Her father was a police reporter, a café journalist, a publicity flack for Hollywood movies, and a Second Lieutenant who was wounded in WWII. It’s no wonder that Jane was “writing up a fury” by the time she was thirteen.

Jane received her BA from Smith College in 1960 and her Masters in Education from the University of Massachusetts in1976.

She is a celebrated author of more than 375 books and stories. No, celebrated isn’t the right word…she has rightfully won more awards than I knew existed. Jane describes herself as a poet and a journalist/nonfiction writer who, to her surprise, became a children’s book writer. Jane also writes fantasy novels, many of which could be considered for children, but adults enjoy them as much as children do.

If you want to know more about Jane, I encourage readers and writers to visit her website. I love one piece of advice that Jane offers at the end of her list of the many successes of a writer: “Selling the piece is only an explanation point, a spot of punctuation.” Read about Jane’s life.

My Opinion

Full disclosure, I am a Jane Yolen fan. I love her lyrical, poetic style of writing. I’m fascinated by the way she can take old fairy tales and fables and present them in a new and interesting way. And if I’m honest, am envious of her writing craft.

The story begins with Darla’s complaint, “It isn’t fair!” She’s upset that Wendy does all Peter Pan’s housework and doesn’t get to fight the pirates. And instantly, I am on Darla’s side.

As the story progresses, I cheer Darla for confronting the inequities in Neverland.

The story’s mid-point crisis is perfect as is the plot twist and the final confrontation. The ending is appropriate, if a bit rushed. 


Cover image of Sister Emily's Lightship and Other Stories the book where  I read the story Lost Girls by Jane Yolen

If you enjoyed story time reviews “Lost Girls” by Jane Yolen, read other story time review posts.

Overall I give the “Lost Girls” a strong 4.5 for craft, characters, plot twist, and author voice. With a stronger or less rushed feel to the ending it would easily be a 5 star read. The collection of stories, Sister Emily’s Lightship and Other Stories, is a delightful collection of re-told tales. Some very short. I highly recommend it.

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