No Room in Neverland
(Penguin Random House SEA, 2023)
All Gemma Young remembers of her childhood are her regular visits to the idyllic, imaginary Neverland before her mother fell sick.
When Gemma meets Cole, a disenchanted boy who stirs up more than just memories of her adventures in Neverland, she begins to piece together her half-forgotten childhood: her mother sick with longing for Neverland, the accident that ripped her family apart, and her father who abandoned her when she was a child.
But now, Gemma’s near-obsessive quest to find her father sends her spiralling deeper into Neverland just like her mother had. As the boundaries blur between the real world and Neverland, Gemma must sift through fact and fiction, discern between truth and make-belief, to find out what happened to her mother and rebuild a new life with her father.
Cover art © 2023 by Sanjoli C
This is a story I never thought would see the light of day. I was a starry-eyed 25-year-old when I first wrote this book in 2015, but after years of querying to no avail, I thought there was no space in the market for my strange little book. It was only when I finally pivoted into writing fantasy that I got signed by Penguin Random House SEA, after a decade of querying.
So when the acquisitions editor asked me if I had any other projects under my belt, I pitched this one tentatively, wondering if it would once again get rejected. Not only was it not rejected, but it also received a lot of love from the Penguin team, and I realised that, truly, all rejection is redirection.
So to all the Lost Children out there looking for your Neverland, this one is for you. I hope you find a piece of yourself in this story and never stop believing.
Mental illness (delusions, paranoia), death, drowning, abandonment, dysfunctional families
Praise for NO ROOM IN NEVERLAND
"A spellbinding tale of grief, healing, and that spark of magic within us."
—Catherine Dellosa, author of the Of Myths And Men trilogy
"Magical, enthralling and exquisitely written. Joyce’s delicate yet raw depiction of Gemma’s abandonment issues in her retelling of Peter Pan's tale will tug at your heartstrings, and then some."
—Leslie W, author of The Night of Legends