Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell


Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

What I Liked:

I've never read any kind of Peter Pan retelling - and if I'm honest, I've not read Peter Pan, nor seen the movie. Whoops? I've never had a ton of interest in the story! But trust me, I know enough about it to understand the "retelling" aspects of this book. A job well done by Maxwell! This is my first book I've read by her and I REALLY enjoyed it!

Gwen is used to moving from place to place, at the whim of her mother's crazy hallucinations. This time, it's to London, but Gwen's friend Olivia is coming to stay with them for a bit. But their first night at the flat doesn't go as planned - Gwen is kidnapped and transported by monsters to a place she has never seen before or heard about - which turns out to be Neverland. Aboard a ship captained by a roguish pirate, Gwen is desperate to figure out what is going on - as well as to find Olivia and get back to London. But Neverland is full of dangerous secrets, lies, and perils - this isn't like the story Gwen knows at all. 

The beginning of this was a tad bit slow - but as soon as Gwen is taken into Neverland, I was hooked (hehehe, see what I did there?). I could not read this book fast enough! Like I said, I've not read Peter Pan or watched the movie or read any retelling, but I could tell immediately that this retelling was different. So many things are upside down! Peter Pan isn't a good guy; Tinker Bell isn't a cute fairy; the Lost Boys are, well, lost, but also a bit bloodthirsty.

Gwen is such a mentally and emotionally strong heroine! She doesn't panic and freak out when she comes to understand that she's in Neverland, far far away from London. She goes toe to toe with the Captain, never backing down, always trying to find out more. She's persistent and never stops trying to remember her home, to find a way to get out, to get to Olivia.

Captain Hook is my favorite character of this book. The Captain is young, a few years older than Gwen, but he is hardened and wicked and very much a roguish pirate. He saves Gwen from drowning (which is how she ended up on his ship upon waking up in Neverland). The Captain has this innate charm to him, almost seductive, but not in a manipulative way. There are so many scenes with him and Gwen that made me swoon and reread and pause and reread again. Walk the plank scene. GUYS. That's my favorite scene. Chilling yet so, so swoony (weird combination, I know).

The story reads so quickly! Once we're in Neverland (which was very quickly into the book, maybe within 10%), the story takes off. Gwen needs to find Olivia and they need to get out. Gwen isn't sure why she or Olivia was taken, until she overhears a conversation and sees some information. She meets this fairy shortly after, who takes her to Olivia. And then things fall apart.

Despite what the synopsis might lead you to believe, there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE in this book. None. I promise you. Gwen falls for one guy... the other one is a manipulative bastard who never touched her, mind or body. I didn't like that the synopsis is so misleading, but then, I can see why the publisher would construct it as such. THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE THOUGH. The author makes it very obvious, in terms of who is the (one) love interest, and who is being manipulative. Gwen doesn't fall for anyone's tricks at any point, try as one boy might.

I loooove the romance. The Captain and Gwen have such a fiery, passionate relationship; every interaction between the two of them have some charged tension to it. I swooned just about every time they were in the same room. There is a percentage of the book that doesn't involve the two of them together - but when they come back together, it's like lightning! More sizzly tension. 

The climax of this book had me biting my nails! I had NO idea what would happen at the end of the book, especially given the amount of foreshadowing that the author set in place about one particular aspect of the book. HOWEVER. I am pleased to say that I loved the ending. It was perfect - especially the epilogue! 

Overall, I absolutely LOVED this book. I can't even believe how much I enjoyed it! I was very apprehensive because of the synopsis (with the insinuated love triangle in the synopsis), but I was excited about pirates and charm lads and Neverland. No love triangle and our pirate was very charming and wicked and Neverland was craaaazy - this book was great! What in the world was I worried about?!

What I Did Not Like:

There wasn't anything in this book that REALLY bothered me enough to say that I'm taking away a star because of this or that. I wish the synopsis didn't insinuate a love triangle - but that's not the author's fault. I hated Peter Pan because he's soooo manipulative - but I think that was the point. The ending glossed over a few details that I questioned, but I was so relieved about other aspects, I didn't question those too much. The ending was lovely!

Would I Recommend It:

I so recommend this book! Readers of any genre in YA would love it! Pirates! Roguish captain! Insane storybook world that is trying to kill everyone! Hidden talents! Swoon swoon swoony romance! And it's a standalone and ends so well - this book made me smile so much.

Rating: 

4.5 stars. I'm rounding down to 4 stars but it's a strong 4.5-star rating. You should give this book a shot! Even if you're like me, who has never read or watched Peter Pan ANYTHING. Also no love triangle. Also swoony roguish pirate who charmed me from the start and can take me on his ship any day. Guys. You want this book! It's worth the wait!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

34 comments:

  1. OMG I need this book in my life. I too have never read Peter Pan, but I have seen the movies (and Once Upon a Time), so this should be an interesting take. So glad you liked it! Great review :D

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    1. Ooo, Once Upon a Time, I haven't watched the show but you know the actor that plays Hook? He's all I could picture when THIS Hook came into a scene. ;D

      Thank you!

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  2. I've read one Peter Pan retelling and I think I liked it better than the original Peter Pan story. LOL!

    This sounds great.

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    1. That would be AWESOME! (Not that I've read Peter Pan, but I personally think it could happen, with this book!)

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  3. Hmmmmm, I read one retelling this year with Peter Pan as the bad guy (Never Never) and loved it! I have another ARC I need to read that is another retelling, and now this one is again about Peter being a bad guy? I'm sold!!

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    1. Ooo, that's great! Yup, Pan is the bad guy. This one is such a great story, retelling aside! You need it, Pili! ^_^

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  4. I can't wait to start this one! I've actually been putting it off because of the possible love triangle that I thought was there BUT THANK YOU FOR CLEARING THAT UP. :D It makes me very relieved and more excited to read. Awesome review Alyssa!

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    1. I know how you feel! NO LOVE TRIANGLE, AILA! We are in the clear. ;) Thank you so much!

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  5. Nice! I have this in my review pile but it seems to be getting further away as I get a few more review books with earlier release dates! Eep! I love Peter Pan! It's such a fun story and I've read a lot of different retellings and such! So this one pretty much hit my need it list as soon as I heard and then I got a review copy, so I became immediately excited! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    Another good Peter Pan retelling that I loved was Tiger Lily. But I think it might be a more appreciated story if you've read the original tale or at least seen the Disney movie version. Or any straight up Peter Pan movie I guess. That way you know who the characters are meant to be, and what they are in this version! It was one of my favorites and still remains to be a favorite retelling of the story!

    Anyway, great review!

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    1. Gosh I hope you love it, Jessica! It's such a good story, Peter Pan aside. I have Tiger Lily on my TBR! I haven't seen or read anything Peter-Pan-related but I know enough about the who everyone is and what happened... I'll definitely be reading Tiger Lily at some point!

      Thank you, Jessica! :)

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  6. I still need to read the original Peter Pan book, but I love the Disney movie. This sounds like a pretty good retelling. Definitely on my to-read list!

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    1. I need to read the book and watch the movie! Maybe just the movie. ;D I hope you read and love this book, Erin!

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  7. I know I'm not supposed to pay that much attention to the cover, but based on that alone, I probably would not have picked this one up. Your review, however, totally makes me want to get into this tale and it sounds really interesting. BIG Hugs...

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    1. Personally, I love the cover. BUT, even if you don't love the cover... the story inside is soooo good! I highly recommend it, Ro! :)

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  8. I love Peter Pan, and was still a bit unsure about checking out this retelling, but your review totally just sold me! I'm so happy that Captain Hook's the love interest. For some reason, that just really intrigues me! I'm so glad the pacing is quick, too :) For me, retellings/twists sometimes read too slow, but it doesn't sound like that happens in Unhooked at all. Great review! :)

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    1. Ahhh! Montana, I hope you give this book a shot! Hook is the swooniest boy EVER -- I wish I hadn't done all of my Top Ten lists already! This book needs to be on there.

      It was a fast read for sure! You'll have no trouble. Thank you so much!

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  9. Oooooh I really did not have this on my radar at all, because like you, I have not ever been into Peter Pan. I know the basics, but that's mostly because my kids watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates hahah. BUT since you weren't a big Peter Pan fan, I feel like this could actually work for me! Plus a great romance AND an exciting conclusion? Yep, you've sold me, I need this one! Fabulous review :)

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    1. SHANNON IT NEEDS TO BE!!!! Like you, I know the basics of Peter Pan... never saw the movie or read the original story. But this book was so epic and magical (and slightly terrifying at times)!

      The conclusion was PERFECT! And the romance was SO SO SO swoony. It's a must-read, in my opinion!

      Thank you, Shannon! <3

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  10. This book wasn't even on my radar, but thank you so much for the amazing review! It's already on my TBR and I can't wait to read it now :)

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    1. It's been flying low! Hopefully I'm helping in generating a little buzz because IT DESERVES IT! I hope you read it and love it! ^_^

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  11. Eeee :D YAY! I'm so glad that you loved this book Alyssa. <3 Hugs. You make it sound amazing. Sigh. The plot sounds so exciting :D And the romance sounds so good. YAY for no triangle. Damn summary for lying :p I hate that. But so so happy that there isn't one, lol :) Thank you for sharing about this one sweet girl. <3 I'm so curious now.

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    1. Plot was exciting, romance was gorgeous, protagonist was cool. This is the rare opposite case in which the summary is misleading about a love triangle - there is none! It's totally worth a shot, Carina. :D

      Thank YOU!

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  12. This book sounds so amazing! I hope that my request gets accepted on Edelweiss for this one! I really love all the pirate books I've been seeing and reading lately. So excited for this one! Lovely review! :)

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    1. Girl! I am crossing my fingers for you! They better approve you! *shakes fist* I hope you love it!

      Thank you. <3

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  13. I'm so happy I asked you about this book! I was totally going to avoid and now I'm not. :D It sounds amazing and like a great story. Lovely review, lady!

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    1. No problem! I hope you get the chance to read it, Danielle! Let me know how it goes for you. :D Thank you so much!

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  14. I'm glad I read your review. I haven't read many Peter Pan retellings, and it's probably because I am not a fan of what most people do with the story. Your review makes it sound more exciting though. And no love triangle? BEST

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    1. I know what you mean! I personally think Maxwell twisted the story in an AMAZING and unique way. And yes, no love triangle! *parties*

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  15. I loved it. I want another one. ASAP! I wish. <3

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  16. This book looks AMAZING! I need it ;) Lol

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read it soon! =)

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  17. Aaaand - another one for my TBR. :) Thanks Alyssa!

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    1. YAY! I hope you enjoy the book, Di! I think it might come on sale on Kindle soon, so look out for that! ;D

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