Author: Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
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?
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)
Forget all you thought you knew about Peter Pan, his lost boys, Hook and even Tinker Bell. Just forget about your childhood Neverland and welcome Lisa Maxwell's dark but gorgeous version of Peter Pan, Unhooked. I could not put this book down (stayed up until the wee hours of the morning just to keep up the fast pace) and I kind of hated myself a bit after for reading it too fast. Unhooked is the tale of Peter Pan you never knew you wanted... until now.
It took me a few chapters to really connect with Gwen but once I caught on to her voice, I found myself captivated and unable to look away. My fingers were a blur with how quickly I was turning the pages and devouring their words. Gwen is your typical snarky, defensive heroine and that was the image that fit in her scenario, I was amazed that she was able to keep that bravado up for so long. Getting thrown headfirst into an unknown land by evil fey would've thrown anyone off their game, but she managed to keep her head straight (well, sometimes) and really thought things through, which I found admirable. And it was her tenacity and need for answers that helped her out in the end. There were moments, however, when I wanted to shake Gwen and tell her to believe in herself more. The constant doubt and avoidance annoyed me but I guess the ego-boost is where Rowan comes in.
I feel like I can go on and on and on about Rowan (Unhooked's Hook) but I don't want to spoil things for you. I just want to say I love Rowan and Gwen's dynamic together, though they were hesitant in trusting each other, it seemed like they found a part of themselves in each other. They were actually similar, in terms of how fiercely loyal they are (to the point of sacrificing themselves to protect those they love) and their obstinateness (mostly to each other). And there were also parts of them that were scarred and broken, those aspects of themselves called to one another. It was beautiful, heart-breaking and made my chest ache. I really did enjoy their banter, they were just so cute together.
I never knew that Peter Pan (or Pan, as he likes to be called) could be so damn creepy. There's only so many times a person can smile pleasantly before his face cracks. Sure, I was intrigued by him and his good looks and runed chest but as soon as he slipped into the page, I was on guard and so was Gwen, luckily. Honestly, he scared me more than the Dark Ones or the other creepy crawlies in Neverland (and there was an abundance of them), I just got really bad vibes from him. No one can be that charming.
The darkness of Unhooked was really what drew me in, everything was so fascinating and I just couldn't look away from all the blood and evilness. One of the things that got me were the Lost Boys, Lisa Maxwell's interpretation of them pulled at my heart-strings (especially when I saw how much Rowan cared for them) but also made me very afraid. With this novel, you never run out of excitement because every turn you make, you meet someone or something new that will wreak havoc. However there were moments in the book where I found myself confused, mostly with the Olivia bits, I felt like she was an afterthought and her scenes greatly disturbed me (in a good way?) but yeah, I didn't think she was too important.
Unhooked had me hooked, lined and sinkered, it was a story that managed to have heart amidst all the darkness. It was a great read and though the ending did leave me wanting for a bit more I felt like its conclusion made the most sense after all those events (they will be mended). Lisa Maxwell delivered a fantastic book and I look forward to whatever else she has in store for us.