It all began with trying to fly. After jumping off the roof of his house in the middle of the night, Daniel Kim wakes up far from Neverland, his reprieve from the real world. Thrust into a mental health hospital and then into a brand-new high school, he struggles to hold on to reality while haunted by both his very-present past and his never-present parents. But when he joins Cranbrook Preparatory’s cross-country team, he starts to feel like he’s walking on his own two feet once again. He meets Jiwon Yoon—another cross-country runner, who may be the first person to join Daniel in his Neverland daydreams. Or maybe Jiwon is the one who will finally break Daniel free.
Content warning: Emotional trauma, attempted suicide, mental illness.
"In his daydreams, Daniel, who is White and Korean, is the confident leader of the Lost Boys who spends his days seeking treasure and battling Captain Hook. There are no strict, distant parents in Neverland, no homophobic classmates, no pressure for him to be someone he isn’t. In real life, Daniel is a junior at Cranbrook Prep in Southern California, having transferred to the school for a fresh start following a suicide attempt over the summer… The portrayals of mental illness and trauma recovery are handled honestly and sensitively. There is no magical solution…An ultimately uplifting story that does not shy away from the discomfort of reality."–Kirkus Reviews, 01/01/2022
"Ellzey’s novel is a sensitive story from a gifted writer...While the book has some triggering content, such as suicide attempts and mental illness, the author never equates Daniel’s mental struggles to his sexuality. It is a very keen move to draw that line very cleanly. Daniel is a fresh take on LGTBQIA+ youth representation who many readers will gravitate to; he is relatable without being stereotypical and his story is one young adults will want to read. VERDICT This debut novel belongs on the shelves of all libraries that serve high school readers."–School Library Journal, 05/01/2022