I received this book from Spencer Hill Press through NetGalley in exchange for review.
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens & Peter & Wendy by J.M. Barrie are two of my favorite stories. Since Barrie’s creation has become popular, Peter’s been adapted & readapted a thousand times. I love pretty much all of them. Disney’s version is cute enough. Spielberg’s Hook is pretty good & so is Terry Brook’s novelization of that movie. There’s been prequels & sequels & everybody pretty much loves shipping Peter & Wendy in P.J. Hogan’s version with Jeremy Sumpter.
& with Joe Wright’s version hitting the screens soon I figured now was a good time to start getting excited about the wonderful world of Neverland again. Luckily Brianna Shrum’s Never Never came out this Tuesday!
I’ve probably been a bit too overexposed to these characters & this world, so Shrum had some pretty large expectations to fill. But damn. I loved this one.
The story follows Captain James Hook, instead of our beloved Peter, starting from his childhood up until the moments where we usually see his appearances in Peter’s version of the story. Hook’s backstory & his relationship with Peter sheds some light on why he became the villain he became.
It paints Hook in the most sympathetic light possible. Even when he’s morally wrong, we still love him. He’s also quite the English gentleman, while still being marauder-like enough to be a pirate. It also basically portrays Peter as a little brat. He’s always been a cocky & flawed character, but here he’s a real damn jerk.
There’s also a huge romance plot between Hook & Tiger Lily. I liked this one more than Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily. It gets pretty steamy, but pretty much stays in young adult territory throughout the whole story.
Overall I think the book gets better as you read. The beginning was a bit too parenthesis happy (there was one of these almost every other sentence, it was a bit cheeky, & a bit annoying). My only main complaint is that we never really see Hook & Peter getting along & being friends at first, so their fallout a quarter of the way through seems stretched & not as big of a deal as it could’ve probably been.
But once Hook & Peter separate, the story picks up. I could not put it down. Shrum’s version of Neverland was completely believable & I loved hearing about the Spanish Main, Shrum’s version of the Jolly Roger. I also loved hearing Hook describe anyone’s lack of manners as “bad form,” one of many homages to Barrie’s story. Definitely add this to your TBR lists & if you pre-ordered or purchase between now & September 30th, you can get an exclusive Tiger Lily short.
Also, if you like this one, or like the idea of hearing Hook’s side of the story, but want a more kid friendly version, check out J.V. Hart’s Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth.