Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
Never Never is a Peter Pan retelling, and like all retellings I have to read them! Whether they’re good, bad, or not even remotely close to the original story I have to see how a certain story is played out. This retelling is told from the perspective of Captain James Hook, from the age of 12 to adulthood. Is he really the bad guy, or is Peter Pan the more evil of the two?
Well, it turns out I have a love/hate relationship with this book. In this retelling Peter Pan is made out to be the bad guy of the story. Peter is sinister, cruel, and is no way innocent. I really HATE him in this book. He practically kidnapped James when he was still a child, and showed no mercy to him when he wanted to go home. From the start, Peter was cruel to James. James never wanted to stay a child. He always wanted to grow up. Peter tried making him a Lost Boy so that he could stay a child, but James grew up despite Peter’s warning.
I liked that the author gave James a conscience. Where as Peter was merciless and killed for pleasure, James was every bit the remorseful person. Even when he had to kill other pirates he hated that he had to. It made me love and care for the captain all the more.
I love the way the author told the story. She captivated me from the start and made me root for someone who is supposed to be horribly bad. I wasn’t sure how I would feel since it started James off as a child, but the transitioning of the story flowed well. I could picture parts of the story from the Disney movie. Those parts really made me think how James felt from his point of view.
My absolute favorite part of the book was the SHIP. By ship I mean the romance between James Hook and Tiger Lily. Oh man, I loved them together and I did not want their romance to stop. Tiger Lily is the only person Hook cared about. She understood him like no else could. They had their moments of disagreements, but they some how found their way back in each other’s arms. It was a slow burn romance, but when they finally kiss, boy are there some steamy moments. At one point I had to fan myself.
The one part, and my least favorite part of the book had to be the ending. I was rooting for Hook completely and I felt like the ending was left a little underwhelming for me. As I said before, the latter part of the book follows the movie. And well, most of you know what happens at the end. I was not happy with this ending at all. I felt like it was rushed and left a little open ended. I was just hoping for more. I felt like I was crushed, or more like thrown off the plank of a ship with nothing to grasp on to.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Despite the ending and some slow moments, I thought this was a really fun retelling. There’s many fight scenes with not only the Lost Boys, but many pirates too. There’s even a small mention of Blackbeard. I rooted for Hook from start to finish, and I’ll always have a soft spot for him now. He became bad for reasons that are justified. I really recommend this anyone who loves retellings. Who knows? Maybe you will become a pirate lover too!
About the author:
Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school sweetheart turned husband and her two little boys. She’s been writing since she could scrawl letters, and has worked with teens since she has graduated out of teenager-hood, either in the writing classes she taught, or working with the youth group. Brianna digs all things YA, all things geeky, superhero-y, gamery, magical, and strange.
Her debut YA, Never Never, releases in September of this year. Her second YA, How to Make Out, releases in Fall 2016. She’d totally love to connect with you, so come say hi on her website or Twitter!
Visit her website at www.briannashrum.com
Follow her on Twitter: @briannashrum