Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.The easiest way to get me to read something is to entice me with the promise of Peter Pan. Unhooked easily made my most anticipated of 2016 as soon as I read the synopsis. I was happy to find that while there was much for this Peter Pan fangirl to love, the story ultimately works on it's own. Offering up roguish pirates, yesterday villains and brilliant world building, Unhooked will have you spellbound from page one.
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?
The popular twist of Peter being a much darker character is used here, but Hook is not painted as a hero either. They are both hiding dark secrets and are willing to lie to get what they want. As a result both Gwen and the reader are unsure of who to trust. I appreciated that there was no romanticizing of abusive behaviour within these pages, and that certain actions were painted in the light that they should have been. Neither guy is given a free pass, but one is decidedly way more horrible than the other. Lisa Maxwell also, wisely, never has one of the guys treat the love interest horribly which is something that happens (and is forgiven) all too often in other novels.
The romance is going to be one of the favourite elements for a lot of readers. I, personally, found it pretty swoon worthy and not overpowering to the story. The love triangle that is hinted as in the synopsis is barely a whisper within the pages of the story so those who avoid love triangles need not worry when picking up this title.
The setting of Neverland is vibrant, and as rich as I would have hoped. Neverland is almost a character itself, and Lisa Maxwell brings her version to life with her vivid descrptions. She creates an ever changing, stunning, deadly, beautiful land for her characters to inhabit and it only adds to this novel's charms. This may not be the Neverland we're used to,but it's none the less magical. It is a setting that holds it's owns secrets and these secrets are the heart of the novel.
A novel that, while inspired by Peter Pan, fully stands on it's own. It uses the Peter Pan legend, as well as pulling from other mythology, to create a story that is uniquely it's own. While I would be hesitant to call this a retelling, it certainly is inspired by the classic tale, and fans will delight in the homage Lisa Maxwell has paid to the source material. It offers it's own kind of magic within it's pages, and that certainly makes it worth the read.