Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Gwendolyn Allister has reluctantly moved to London with her paranoid mother. However, Gwen’s best friend, Olivia, has come to help ease Gwen’s transition. Things go supernaturally wrong when the girls are kidnapped by flying shadow creatures—known as the Dark Ones—and taken to Neverland. The girls get separated but Gwen is rescued from the Dark Ones by the handsome, metal-handed Captain Rowan. Peter Pan sneaks onto Rowan’s ship, takes Gwen, and reunites her with Olivia. But this Peter Pan is a seductive teenage leader who magically brainwashes anyone to get his way.

Unhooked is a gothic yet modern twist to Barrie’s Peter Pan tale. Gwendolyn is tied to the sporadic, unstable whims of her anxious mother. If she leaves, her mother will fall apart. But if she stays, her social future is doomed. Her one glimmering hope is Olivia, a strong-willed girl who looks past Gwen’s flawed mother and sees a friend. But when Gwen is reunited with Olivia after their kidnapping, Olivia’s resilient mind is lost to Pan’s seductions. Losing Olivia spurs Gwen to accept her destiny and face Neverland’s terrors and temptations head on. Alongside Gwen’s story, Maxwell adds snap-shots of Rowan’s service in WWI. This WWI storyline is unique, but is an anachronism. For example, Rowan mentions Barrie being inspired by Neverland. But Barrie didn’t write his Peter Pan play until 1904 and WWI didn’t begin until 1914. How could Barrie write a Hook/Captain Rowan character before Rowan even arrived in Neverland? Putting these inconsistencies aside, Unhooked is an addictive, mature reimagining of the Peter Pan story that teens will devour.      

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