Dust Book Review

Dust Book Review

Greetings! Welcome to my review for Dust by Kara Swanson!
5.0Overall Score


Greetings! Welcome to my review for Dust by Kara Swanson!

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Pacing
  • Setting
  • Themes

Greetings! It’s been a little while, but I’m so excited to share this review! I’m posting a review for its sequel as soon as I finish posting this one to celebrate the release of book #2, Shadow!


The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real–since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan–and herself.

Personal Review:

Whimsical yet perilous, Dust reminded me why I enjoy the YA genre. It honors the innocence and joy of childhood while reckoning with the journey towoards growing up in a way that’s comforting and challenging at the same time.

So many YA books lean into one side of the emotional spectrum. While I have nothing against fluffy books or stories spent exploring dark and difficult themes, it’s refreshing to read a story that can be funny and emotionally intense in the same chapter. In fact, it’s the perfect example of a modern coming-of-age YA book because it gives one the courage to grow up.

All of the characters come to life vividly, and their struggles broke my heart before piecing it together again. I loved picking up on the little tidbits that show us more about their personalities and getting to know them. I found myself sympathizing with all of the characters (even the villains, to an extent) and cringing with them at their mistakes.

The emotions are portrayed honestly and are raw and real. Even still, there is whimsy, humor, and heartwarming moments intermingled with the darkness and danger.

As far as the setting goes, I love how Neverland is threaded into England from Hook to the Guardian.

Overall, it’s a mix of hope and heartbreak – traits that pair as perfectly as Peter Pan and chocolate cake.

Sometimes, I’ll share a couple quotes I found really insightful or beautiful, but there are too many to share here, so I’ll limit it to just a few and break down why I loved them.

  • “Curses…Couldn’t we talk about something cheerful for once? Like…cake? Cake is cheerful. Cake isn’t trying to kill me.” – This quote really needs no explanation. It’s just one of the most relatable quotes in the book.
  • “Then maybe growing up doesn’t mean carving out the magic from your soul. Maybe…growing up can be a way of letting your dreams expand, like a falling star becoming a magical island resting in the middle of a galaxy. Maybe growing up isn’t letting your soul die but entering another adventure.” – So often, stories tell us not to lose our childlike attritubutes, but I love how Dust draws the line between childish and childlike. The hope that growing up can be a beautiful thing, another season of life with new adventures is one I found myself treasuring throughout the book.
  • “The light in you is far brighter than the darkness. Don’t forget that.” – This scene was so full of depth, and in context, this quote is just as beautiful. One thing that it reminded me of is the darkness we live in today and in which humanity has always lived. But as Christians, the Holy Spirit in us, in me, is far brighter than the darkness. And that is a beautiful thought, indeed.
  • “I am more than my shadows…There is light.” Just another lovely quote that belongs on a journal.

There are so many more quotes I wrote down, but this post is long enough and the one for Shadow (the sequel) is coming soon, so I’ll stop here.

Content Review:

Language – A fair amount of British language, but nothing too offensive.

Sexual – A kiss, but nothing too passionately described.

Violence – Some wounds and a reference to physical child abuse.

Spiritual – Tiger Lily’s tribe believes in the Ever One, who represents God. They read the stars and see them as the Ever One’s messages that can tell destinies and stories.

Other – References to attempted suicide and self-harm.


That’s all for now! Have a lovely day!