Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 342 (hardcover
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.
But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.
The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.
With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?
I've come to realize that I love fairy tale retellings, and that I also love retellings of Peter Pan. (I recently watched Finding Neverland for the first time and was glad I had this book to pick up after.)
The first thirty or so pages of this book are a little slow. Gwen and her mother are moving into a new home and her best friend, Olivia, has come to help them. You automatically get a weird vibe from Gwen's mom, but it's had to discern what her actual problem is. Gwen seems to be the stable one in their relationship.
It doesn't take long, after they are settled, for things to start happening. The strange light in the room, the mural of the fairies, and the weird feeling Gwen gets when she's out in London with Olivia. It all means something, but Gwen doesn't know what.
Until she and Olivia are kidnapped and she wakes up in chains in a strange ship full of young boys. It's obvious from the time she wakes up that she's being held by "Captain Hook", though he just goes at Captain...or Rowan (swoon).
From that point on the story is pretty much beautiful orchestrated chaos. Everyone on the ship and Neverland has secrets and no one is willing to give them up. Pan is as captivated as Rowan, but there's something dark about him; you can just tell.
I loved how it all unfolded and how you got to see Pan's influence over his boys and Olivia, but there was always the voice of reason in Gwen's head. As she finds more out about Neverland she finds more out about herself and you guys know how I love character growth! Gwen is a great character, too. She's a city girl who's just been plopped into a fantasy land but she takes it all in stride and never plays the damsel in distress. Strong female characters are my jam, y'all.
There was definitely some darkness in this book, and it wasn't always from the source you thought it would be. The character emotions are raw and real, and I'll admit to tearing up a few times.
Everything about the storyline flowed together, from the characters' backgrounds to the magical elements. I loved this story big time.
If you're a lover of fairy tales, definitely pick this one up.
Here's some swoon-worthy Captain Hook for your troubles.