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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lefty's Lowdown: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Published: February 2, 2016 by Simon Pulse
Source: I received an eARC for review from the publisher via Edelweiss, but that hasn't influenced my opinion even a little bit.
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?
 HECK YES. I have major, super duper heart eyes for this book. This is the YA pirate book I have been waiting for my entire life. There's adventure and smoochies and magic and pretty much anything you could ask for from a twisted up Peter Pan retelling. Admittedly, I'm not overly familiar with the tale of Peter Pan, but I know enough to see how Unhooked aligns with the original tale. Maxwell's version is dark and utterly engrossing.

Soooo there are so many awesome things happening in this book, I don't even know where to start. Full disclosure, the beginning was a bit slow, but of course it was necessary. We're introduced to our narrator, Gwendolyn, whose mother is dragging her to yet another town to live, claiming there are monsters, only this time is different because Gwen had started to feel really comfortable at their previous town. She'd settled in, and she even made a best friend--Olivia, who decided to tag along for a couple weeks to help them get settled at their new house in London. We see Gwen struggle to figure out what she wants, not what her mom wants for her life. And then she finds herself in Neverland, and that's when the pacing picks up and shit gets realllllll good.

Gwen turns out to be a kickass narrator. She's kinda damsel-y in the beginning, but not in a way that's weak, more in a way that she was just dropped into a strange land and has no idea where she is or what the ef is going on. Even still, we can see that Gwen is stubborn as hell, determined, and she's not going to take any of Captain's crap. SPEAKING OF CAPTAIN. Mm mm mmm. He's the villain, a roguish pirate in every sense of the word, or at least it seems. He's dangerous, ruthless, and he has a very strange effect on Gwen. Except, guys, noooooo. Captain is compassionate and caring, and he is very hard on himself. I love him, and I love him and Gwen together. Talk about chemistry!!! Every interaction between them is absolutely sizzling. Both of these characters are complex and well-developed and such. fantastic. characters. If I'm being honest, though, all the characters in this novel are wonderfully crafted. Pan, Olivia, Fiona...They come alive on the pages.

This whole book comes alive. The world that Maxwell has created is luscious and detailed and definitely a little creepy. This is not the Neverland you read about as a child, folks. And Lisa Maxwell's writing is absolutely beautiful. Whether you like it or not, you will, without a doubt, get sucked into this fairy tale.

I can't even tell y'all enough how much I loved this novel. It was the first novel I actually started this year, and I read the entire thing in one sitting. It was sexy and positively captivating. It's a little reminiscent of Once Upon A Time in Neverland, I will most likely fangirl about this book for the rest of my life because it is amazing and you need to read it.

My rating:
5/5 would read again


Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep (Flux, Fall 2015) and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

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