Unhooked is such an incredible adventure that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a twist on a classic fairy tale and is full of action and adventure.
I loved this book. I had a feeling I would, since I enjoy fairy tale retellings, but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing this book was going to be.
Peter Pan was never a favorite of mine – in fact, I don’t usually find much interest in anything related to that particular fairy tale…I don’t know why, it just never really captured my attention. But when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. When a copy showed up in my mailbox, I wasted no time diving in, and loving every single bit of it. It was one of those books that swept me away in the adventure, and there wasn’t a dull moment here. There was a brief period in the beginning of the book that introduced us to our main character, Gwendolyn, and gave us a little bit of background information on her, her friend Olivia, and her mother, but it left a lot of mysteries that were uncovered later in the book – and some at the very end.
Gwendolyn Allister is forced to move around to many different places and has had plenty of houses over the years, but has never really called any of them home, because her mother would have them pick up and move again shortly after they got settled in. Her mother loved her and tried her hardest to protect her from “monsters” that she thought would catch them eventually.
“If, once I’m eighteen and legally free to go, I walk away? I’ll lose the only family I have. Because my mother will never stop moving. Not as long as she believes therea re monsters chasing us.”
During Gwen’s latest move, to a dusty old flat with a strange painting and a lamp she is advised to always keep on, her friend Olivia comes along to help her move. Gwen and Olivia are best friends, and Gwen is having a hard time thinking about the time when Olivia goes home and she is stuck all alone, with her mother, who is always terrified that something is going to get them.
Until one night, something does.
Gwen is kidnapped by dark creatures and taken to a place called Neverland, but it isn’t the Neverland from the Peter Pan fairy tale that she grew up with. The entire place is a twisted nightmare that she cannot wake up from, no matter how hard she tries. When she is saved by a ship’s captain and his crew (who she later figures out is this Neverland’s “Hook”), she isn’t sure if she is safe with them, or if she should try and find a way off the ship. When the captain tells her of a boy named “Pan,” she decides that he truly must be the good guy in the situation, and she wastes no time running off with him when he finds her. What happens from there is difficult for Gwen to understand at first – especially when her memories of her real life start slipping the longer she stays in Neverland. When she finds Olivia, who has also been kidnapped, Gwen discovers that Olivia no longer remembers who she is or where is is from – all she knows is that she loves Neverland, and she loves Pan.
“‘Without memory, there is no empathy, no humanity. Without memory, we are not ourselves.'”
As Gwen tries to hold on to who she really is and save Olivia from the shell of her former self, she also has to piece together what Neverland is, how she got there, and what Pan wants from her. Along the way, Gwen learns the truth about her mother, and some interesting secrets about herself.
This book is such a fun read. It’s written quite smoothly and the characters are enjoyable to read. The ending nicely wraps up everything, and there isn’t a cliffhanger or anything, so there’s no need to worry about having to wait for another book to see how the story plays out. There’s also a little mini-story before each chapter…a few sentences that tells the story of another character in the book (and you don’t find out until almost the end, so I’m not spoiling who it is), which is a really nice touch and adds to it. There isn’t really much romance here, definitely not any love triangles (and I’ll admit – going in to this, I was sort of worried that there would be). Rather than that, it focuses on the story and has plenty of action – and pirates!
If you like your novels fast-paced and full of action, this is one you might want to check out – Lisa Maxwell did a fantastic job on this one. It’s definitely going on my favorites shelf!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.