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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?

342 pages, Hardcover

First published February 2, 2016

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About the author

Lisa Maxwell

11 books1,997 followers
Lisa Maxwell is the New York Times Best-Selling author of THE LAST MAGICIAN. Also of UNHOOKED, SWEET UNREST, and GATHERING DEEP. When she's not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,214 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,629 reviews34k followers
February 22, 2016
4.5 stars I've read some Peter Pan retellings I've enjoyed, and read/sampled a whole lot more I did not. What's been missing from all these other literary adaptations is what I found in UNHOOKED: a real sense of being snatched away from your bed and looking wide-eyed at Neverland. You feel the air on your face as you fly through a brilliant night sky; you gape in wonder at this new world throbbing beneath your palms, even as you aren't certain who you can trust; and most importantly, you understand the devastating poignancy of losing your memories, and therefore your sense of self. This book takes you there in a way I hadn't ever experienced before, and it does so with urgency, with passion, and with really beautiful, sensory-rich writing.

This isn't a perfect book--the opening chapters left me a bit disoriented (though 32 pages in, the tone is quickly set right with Gwendolyn's kidnapping), I have questions about various identities, and two key characters could have been developed a great deal more. But I loved the use of dark magic, and how Gwendolyn truly comes of age in this story, in ways that are both unexpected and satisfying. And I very much appreciated how the book touched upon issues of consent and loss, as well as the ideals of responsibility and sacrifice, between friends and compatriots as well as between mother and child.

Also, Tinkerbell is a bitch and Hook is unbelievably sexy, so I'm pretty in love with the book for those reasons alone.

A bit more of a review to come. This one deserved a more beautiful treatment for its cover than the stock photo it got, but the important thing is, the content transports you to a place that's not only beautiful and dangerous, but one that feels both familiar and new.
Profile Image for beautyliterate.
331 reviews1,370 followers
August 1, 2018
3.5/5 stars

Isn't it funny how at one time I was head over heels for this book but now reading it I found so many cons. For starters the ending annoys me a lot more especially when this is only a standalone. It's extremely rushed and is lack luster especially compared to the anticipation. While I don't love our main character but do enjoy our love interest the romance I fond this time around needed more to build. I think first time around I was so in love with the world and the whole idea of a Peter Pan retelling that reading this book as fast as I did, made me not take in account the lack of build when it came to their development romance wise. With that being said, I still loved certain factors this time around that I did originally. The story itself although isn't perfect, is a fast read and if you are looking for a Neverland retelling with some twists I would recommend it!


December 25, 2015
5/5 magical stars

Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANcPj...

This book was absolutely amazing!! From the world to the characters to the writing I loved every single page, very cliche but so true. Only thing I wanted from this book was a little bit more at the end since I felt things were kind of rushed.Overall, highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the idea of a Peter Pan retelling because this one is a great one!

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Kristalia .
394 reviews615 followers
March 27, 2016
Final rating: 2/5 stars

“What’s next?” I ask doubtfully. “Fairies?”
“Well”—he turns and leans his hip on the bulwark so he can face me—“they have been a large part of the mess you’re finding yourself in.”

Buddy read with my ship mates Spira and Nastassja.

This was a huge letdown and disappointment. I almost DNF-ed it at 40% but because I hate doing that, I survived till the end. In short: this story is quite predictable, dragging, has annoying main character and lots of undeveloped characters (1 dimensional, 2 dimensional, whatever).

Also, don't worry, there is no love triangle here.

But that's not even the worst. This book is so damn predictable. I knew how it would end. I guessed everything. Everything. The only pleasant surprises in this book is . This book also tries to play tricks on you to guess who is real villain and who is not - and to be honest, it was a nice try, but it was obvious here who the real hero is. Our stupid heroine doesn't get that until she starts regretting her life choices.

And the worst of all is that i felt nothing of sadness, happiness, delight, nothing of what I want and need to feel. The only thing I did feel was anger, annoyance, please kill me now feeling, i want to enter the book and actually slap the MC feeling.

I was also bothered by the writing. Especially the use of "mysterious boy story" at the beginning of each chapter. Because it was too mysterious, it threw me of the board because those parts were so short between much longer chapters, and it was hard to follow - until the reason for it was revealed, but even then... ugh... metaphors. It would have been better if the book was split in... for example, 3 parts, then had 2-3 pages of the "boy story" because it would have been easier to follow. I have read books that have the same thing used as this book at the beginning of each chapter, but here, it was just not executed properly. Because of all of this, I had hard time appreciating the bread crumbs at the beginning of the each chapter. And when the revelation was finally here, of the meaning of those chapter, I did not feel anything.

Also, while we are at writing, is it just me or is this sentence absolutely ridiculous?

He gives me a dark and dangerous smile that has something equally dark and dangerous curling in my belly.

Also, for the real villain of the story, he felt . Of course, it's easy to understand who the real villain is. You have Captain Hook and Peter Pan. Neither of them are innocent, and both of them killed for their own purposes. But, through the first half of the book, I noticed little hints our darling Gwen didn't and of course she didn't think it through and she just kept and kept throwing away the help back to their face.

There are some minor plot holes and not really understandable parts. Basically,


Since I have no patience for this, the fitting story synopsis can be found on the book page itself.


Gwen is quite annoying, irritating, selfish and reckless protagonist, who makes more mistakes because author thought it would have given us more insight to the both sides of the story. What did I get? Nothing in return. Halfway through the book I knew who was telling the truth and who was deceiving.

Peter Pan, like synopsis says, says all the right things one would believe when distressed. Then there is captain Hook, who is completely honest - even when he kills someone else. Neither of them are innocent in this whole story, and the point was to choose the lesser evil of the two. Of course, our captain Hook doesn't tell everything to Gwen, which only makes her even more controllable by the other party.

Did I mention Gwen is naive? She would also rather judge a person based on his actions and not even thinking to wonder what the other one is offering her and whether he could be trusted. Also, Gwen is contradictory to herself through most of the book. She acts like one person at one moment, then in the other moment, she is completely different, and the next one she is someone else. Her character was not consistent. While we are at it, Gwen is quite ungrateful. Ugh. Instead our characters feel inclined to apologize to her!

Also, did i mention this book was insta love? Because it is. Let's look at this this way: (don't worry, the following scenes are from the beginning of the book):

It’s not I who will kill you, lass,” he says softly. “Neverland will do that well enough on its own.”
He steps back abruptly then and turns to face the sea. I’m surprisingly aware of the loss. His attention was like a flame, warming me, even as it threatened to burn. His dismissal makes the night feel that much colder, that much more dangerously empty.

Ugh. So basically, insta attraction.

And then, PAN.

Ugh again.

Now, on the other hand, I will lay down the evidence of some of the scenes where she irritated the hell out of me.

Good for you. At least she understood that she is not safe. But once again, she disregards what she felt here - the fear - and she continues .

And then THIS (okay this is serious spoiler):

What the hell did she expect when she called his name? Did she even heard that distractions can be dangerous? Really? is he just that stupid or what?

And then this (again, real spoiler):

Ughkjahsdjasdhkas so many hints were thrown and she still comes to the wrong damn conclusion.

Then this: they are arguing and all she can think of is this????

His mouth is so near that if I just lifted a bit onto my toes—

And then, finally this:

Where I start wondering if she is completely brainless.

And to finish the blow to my brain: She spends half of the book hating , then one scene of not hating him, then does the same thing over and over again and in the meantime she thinks of how attractive he is? Here are some quotes:

As for Gwen's mother - her actions were quite contradictory. If she was running away from the Fey - which she was, of course - she should have told it to Gwen. This all seems good, that she hides the truth in order that Gwen has "normal life", but the consequence of that behaviour was that Gwen thought her mother was crazy. If she wanted Gwen to have a "normal life", then she shouldn't have shown her paranoid behavior in front of everyone, everyday, every time. Or, she should have told her and they would be able to hide better because they would have known of what to hide from.

As for Olivia, at first we get to see a rich girl who cares for her best friend and is a bit estranged from her parents. That's it. That is all there is to be known about Olivia. Because of the synopsis I thought Olivia would have a huge part in this story too. I was so wrong. I am disappointed, really. Mostly because of this. I thought it would be different with two female characters struggling and fighting through this world, but what did I get? I got a 2 dimensional Olivia, who ended up being a . So yeah, a huge disappointment really.

Out of all the "lost boys" only Will was somewhat characterized. But even so, not so much. As for others, pretty empty characters.

Also, don't worry, there is Tinker Bell too.

And now, for the Hook: he was the only one who was well characterized. The only one. Not even Gwen had that kind of development that he had and he was the only reason I stuck with this book. He was my favorite in this book.

Also, I am not the only one who imagined Hook as Killian Jones because.... mmmmm....

I have something for well done antagonists, because they are also characters who have their ambitions, goals, and they are doing whatever they need to do in order to accomplish their goals. And did i get one? One yes - the other one: disappointment.


This book was apparently supposed to be dark and scary take on Peter Pan story. What did I get in return? Nothing of the sort. Would I recommend it? Sorry, but no. I just don't have enough space to tell everything I felt reading this book. This book is definitely for one time read only.

If you want a really scary, fantastic and very dark look on Peter Pan, read The Child Thief, because it's so much better.

In one of my reviews I have said this. You can't love a book in first person Point of View if you dislike the character that is narrating it. If the story is fantastic, then you can love the book for the story itself, but not for the character. But when you dislike the character AND think the story is just plain OK, you get something like this book.

Standalone: Yes
Point of View: First POV, 1 character.
Triggers: mind games, .
Love triangle: No
Angst: Is it angst if I don't feel anything? In other words, yes, there was angst, but not well executed. A shame, really.
Supernatural: Yes. Fey.
Explicit content: No
Ending type:
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews841 followers
December 30, 2015
4.5 stars. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I'm pretty sure the phrase "roguish pirate" and the word "swoon" both have appeared waaaaay too many times in this review. Basically, read this book for Captain Hook, if anything. TRUST ME.

EDIT: Here is an ARC giveaway of Unhooked! Not sure if it's USA only or open to anyone, but it doesn't hurt to enter! :)

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

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?

What I Liked:

I've never read any kind of Peter Pan retelling - and if I'm honest, I've not read Peter Pan, nor seen the movie. Whoops? I've never had a ton of interest in the story! But trust me, I know enough about it to understand the "retelling" aspects of this book. A job well done by Maxwell! This is my first book I've read by her and I REALLY enjoyed it!

Gwen is used to moving from place to place, at the whim of her mother's crazy hallucinations. This time, it's to London, but Gwen's friend Olivia is coming to stay with them for a bit. But their first night at the flat doesn't go as planned - Gwen is kidnapped and transported by monsters to a place she has never seen before or heard about - which turns out to be Neverland. Aboard a ship captained by a roguish pirate, Gwen is desperate to figure out what is going on - as well as to find Olivia and get back to London. But Neverland is full of dangerous secrets, lies, and perils - this isn't like the story Gwen knows at all.

The beginning of this was a tad bit slow - but as soon as Gwen is taken into Neverland, I was hooked (hehehe, see what I did there?). I could not read this book fast enough! Like I said, I've not read Peter Pan or watched the movie or read any retelling, but I could tell immediately that this retelling was different. So many things are upside down! Peter Pan isn't a good guy; Tinker Bell isn't a cute fairy; the Lost Boys are, well, lost, but also a bit bloodthirsty.

Gwen is such a mentally and emotionally strong heroine! She doesn't panic and freak out when she comes to understand that she's in Neverland, far far away from London. She goes toe to toe with the Captain, never backing down, always trying to find out more. She's persistent and never stops trying to remember her home, to find a way to get out, to get to Olivia.

Captain Hook is my favorite character of this book. The Captain is young, a few years older than Gwen, but he is hardened and wicked and very much a roguish pirate. He saves Gwen from drowning (which is how she ended up on his ship upon waking up in Neverland). The Captain has this innate charm to him, almost seductive, but not in a manipulative way. There are so many scenes with him and Gwen that made me swoon and reread and pause and reread again. Walk the plank scene. GUYS. That's my favorite scene. Chilling yet so, so swoony (weird combination, I know).

The story reads so quickly! Once we're in Neverland (which was very quickly into the book, maybe within 10%), the story takes off. Gwen needs to find Olivia and they need to get out. Gwen isn't sure why she or Olivia was taken, until she overhears a conversation and sees some information. She meets this fairy shortly after, who takes her to Olivia. And then things fall apart.

Despite what the synopsis might lead you to believe, there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE in this book. None. I promise you. Gwen falls for one guy... the other one is a manipulative bastard who never touched her, mind or body. I didn't like that the synopsis is so misleading, but then, I can see why the publisher would construct it as such. THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE THOUGH. The author makes it very obvious, in terms of who is the (one) love interest, and who is being manipulative. Gwen doesn't fall for anyone's tricks at any point, try as one boy might.

I loooove the romance. The Captain and Gwen have such a fiery, passionate relationship; every interaction between the two of them have some charged tension to it. I swooned just about every time they were in the same room. There is a percentage of the book that doesn't involve the two of them together - but when they come back together, it's like lightning! More sizzly tension.

The climax of this book had me biting my nails! I had NO idea what would happen at the end of the book, especially given the amount of foreshadowing that the author set in place about one particular aspect of the book. HOWEVER. I am pleased to say that I loved the ending. It was perfect - especially the epilogue!

Overall, I absolutely LOVED this book. I can't even believe how much I enjoyed it! I was very apprehensive because of the synopsis (with the insinuated love triangle in the synopsis), but I was excited about pirates and charm lads and Neverland. No love triangle and our pirate was very charming and wicked and Neverland was craaaazy - this book was great! What in the world was I worried about?!

What I Did Not Like:

There wasn't anything in this book that REALLY bothered me enough to say that I'm taking away a star because of this or that. I wish the synopsis didn't insinuate a love triangle - but that's not the author's fault. I hated Peter Pan because he's soooo manipulative - but I think that was the point. The ending glossed over a few details that I questioned, but I was so relieved about other aspects, I didn't question those too much. The ending was lovely!

Would I Recommend It:

I so recommend this book! Readers of any genre in YA would love it! Pirates! Roguish captain! Insane storybook world that is trying to kill everyone! Hidden talents! Swoon swoon swoony romance! And it's a standalone and ends so well - this book made me smile so much.


4.5 stars. I'm rounding down to 4 stars but it's a strong 4.5-star rating. You should give this book a shot! Even if you're like me, who has never read or watched Peter Pan ANYTHING. Also no love triangle. Also swoony roguish pirate who charmed me from the start and can take me on his ship any day. Guys. You want this book! It's worth the wait!
Profile Image for Jessica.
741 reviews618 followers
April 24, 2018
You know, I can never really tell if a female MC in YA Fantasy really is dumb for struggling with the situation she’s in (believing it’s real etc.), or if the problem is really me, because I’m pretty much sitting here, on top of my packed bags, ready to be abducted by either a dark faerie prince or a roguish space pirate at their earliest convenience.
If dark faeries came to get me at night, I’d probably be throwing off the covers, yelling ‘FUCKING FINALLY! WE GOING OR WHAT?!?’


Ok, jokes aside, the MC, Gwen, was a big part of why this didn’t really work for me. I do seem to be struggling with female MCs a lot lately, don’t I? Anyway. I’ve definitely seen worse than Gwen but there was just nothing about her that made her stand out. She wasn’t particularly brave or bright, quite one-dimensional, to be honest, and most of the time, I just couldn’t relate to her thought process. Not knowing who to trust and struggling with it is fine, but if you, as the reader, have the feeling that the choices to be made should be absolutely obvious, then something is wrong. Authors need to make you doubt who’s on the heroine’s side, right along with her, otherwise you just end up being frustrated, which is exactly what happened here. I just kept thinking, ‘really Gwen? Try to keep up, would you?’

So, to be perfectly honest, I’m actually DNF this at 70%, which means I almost made it through and giving up now kinda makes me feel bad, but I’m just past the point of caring what happens to these characters. I skim read the rest and from what I’ve seen the last chapters weren’t bad but there were no real surprises either. This whole book was just so freakin OBVIOUS. I mean, sure, some stuff can’t come as a surprise since this is a retelling, and you just know certain things, but I know for a fact that it can be done better than this. (see Dorothy Must Die for example)
I usually love retellings like this one, where things are totally turned around, the bad guys being the good guys and all that but here everything just followed the standard YA Fantasy formula to a T and I constantly felt like I knew exactly what would happen next.
The writing was good, except for the constant repetition of 'the one who calls himself Pan', and I wouldn’t say this was boring, but somehow the story just fell flat for me. I didn’t really care about any of the characters except for Hook.

Maybe this would be more enjoyable for somebody who hasn’t read what feels like 1.2 million YA Fantasies, because there are things to like. It just didn’t impress me, sorry.

Challenge #3 for the goodreads inspired read-a-thon, which I totally failed since I should've finished this yesterday ;-(
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,081 followers
January 11, 2019
A truly enchanting book with a swoon worthy romance.

I loved the world building and how the story of Peter Pan and Neverland was woven into this story. I really enjoyed being introduced to different characters as each of them had very different personalities and watching them interact was very interesting.

Gwen Allister is whisked away to Neverland against her will without her knowing whats happening. We find out that in Neverland memories from our world slip from your grasp without us even realising it.
The  magical land constantly tries to take her memories from her but she is doing her best to maintain control over her mind whilst trying to figure out the good and the bad in this world and who she can trust.

I had a great time reading this book, it may bot have the most complicated plot or the best fantasy world but the book has a way if gripping you till the end.
I have also read Lisa Maxwell's Last Magician and I have yet to be disappointed by any of her books and I look forward to reading more of her books. I rate this book 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Ardent Reader.
221 reviews215 followers
November 2, 2017
Before reading Unhooked, I had to read Peter Pan first since I have not read it before. When compared with Peter Pan, Unhooked is a way better according to my view :)
Unhooked, though it is a retelling, gives a clear picture of how different the Neverland was from the original book. I really enjoyed this, though the latter part of the story was fast-paced.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews1,011 followers
March 24, 2016

Buddy read with Spira and Kristalia. It seems our ship went down burning.

What is it about pirate books that makes me so disappointed later? We need a good pirate book. Urgently *wink to Luke* And apart from being a bad pirate book, it is also my third failed read, agh, I am so tired of writing negative reviews on books that were supposed to be amazing!

Unhooked is not all about pirates, actually it's a Peter Pan retelling. The events of the book take place in the alternative version of our world, where book about Peter Pan actually exists and our heroine Gwendolyn is well aware who Pan and Hook are. But apart from the two iconic characters, this story is different and has a darker undertone to it. Unfortunately darkness didn't save the story which went downhill approximately after 40% of the book.

- dark mood, scary creatures, creepy noises (in the beginning).

- Captain aka Hook who is more of an anti hero in the book. He had his motives and dark secrets and wasn't willing to follow someone's rules. Many people imagine him as Killian Jones from Once upon a time tv-series:

I suppose the author aimed for comparison with that character on purpose, but honestly, when I started the book I did not imagine Captain as Killian Jones, because I don't have hots for the actor, I guess I just imagined someone in my head, not a specific person.

- the language is nice and melodic and perfectly transfers the mood of the story to our minds.

That's it, nothing else in this book touched me.

- first POV narration. It was terrible. It always risky to write from the first POV knowing the perspective of the world will depend on narrators interpretation. And Gwen was a terrible narrator. She was more bothered with her personal affairs than with what was happening around. Her constant sighing over Captain then over Pan were tiresome. She didn't notice or refused to understand simple truths around her. It was annoying.

- MC Gwendolyn. It's logical to presume that if I didn't like first POV, I wouldn't like the person it belonged to. That's right. Gwen was an okay character in the beginning but when she was transported to Neverland, she turned into a whiny person. She couldn't decide what she wanted, she couldn't even thing logically and it was so naively and annoyingly frustrating at times.

“Even if I believe we’re in some sort of magical otherworld,” I say, “even if I accept that much, you expect me to believe I’m stuck in some kind of fairy tale?”

And it's like that all the time with her. She sees something that is right in front of her, but she refuses to believe or to turn her logic on.

- Romance. Romance was insta-lovish or was it lust?
“Do you need my allegiance too? Or will you toss me to those monsters?”
The Captain’s eyes go dark, his face an emotionless mask. He takes my measure from where he stands, just a few yards away, his mechanical hand balling itself into a gloved fist. “No, Gwendolyn,” he says softly, his voice rough and filled a desolation that makes my whole body go still. “It’s not your allegiance I want.”

Agh, 30% into the book and already hardcore!

No love triangle here, but it didn't stop the heroine's knees from trembling because of Captain's beauty and Pan's too. Agh, she doesn't know whom to trust: Pan or Captain, but they are both so sexy and beautiful and masculine *face palm* Girl was kidnapped, girl was almost killed, girl needs to find a way out of this mess, but all she does is starry eyes at male characters.

I should struggle. I should pull away from him and make it clear just how distasteful I find him. But I can’t. His voice curls about my brain, and the warmth of him, the solidness of his body against mine, is suddenly too real. Too immediate for me to even process. He laughs then, softly, as though he knows just how weak I am, and the sound of it rumbles up out of his chest and across every one of my nerve endings.

Still, the longer we fly, the more I find myself drawn to him. The more I find myself wanting him to look at me.
Maybe it’s because he smells like the night, wild and free as the wind whipping through my hair, but it takes all my focus not to let myself lean into him. His is a cold scent, distant and empty as a winter day, but that doesn’t make it any less enticing. I want to breathe him in, and it’s only when he chuckles darkly that I realize I’m doing just that.

- Peter Pan. I honestly don't understand the purpose of this character. Don't get me wrong, at first I understood but in the end his character didn't make any sense. Hard to explain without spoilers, but let's just say that Pan's purpose in the story wasn't fulfilled and that sucks, because he played a significant role in the book and then he was just left hanging aimlessly in the plot hole.

- World-building. Erratic, partly done. At first it was good, but the longer I read the more I questioned the world in the book and how it worked. I didn't find the explanation author gave us satisfying. Just no.

- Plot. It's even worse than the world-building. What happened closer to the end was just meh. New characters appeared, new plot twists were suppose to shock me into liking the story but they were terribly done, absurdly even. Where logic, where consistency? That is not how you build most of the book and then crush it all, because you want something entirely new? I don't get it.

- The ending. The worst part of the book. It was utterly ridiculous. Am I suppose to buy the stuff? Am I suppose to believe that leaving things like that is okay? Maybe author wants us to rely on hints about the possibility of the sequel, but it still does not justify the pile of unanswered questions we were left with. The ending made the whole book pointless, annulled the meaning of the story and characters lost their place in the book, they just left hanging somewhere with no purpose.

It just seems that most of the book is underdeveloped. Author started something intriguing and dark and couldn't keep up with her imagination. She tangled up in her own ideas, and like the ever changing island of Neverland, author changed her vision of the story more times than my poor brain could except. It's really sad, because like a lost child I wanted this book to give me direction and purpose, but in the end I only got more lost.

Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 21 books13.5k followers
June 9, 2017
Review coming at the end of June.
In short, it was a interesting start. Rushed middle & end.
Did not understand what was going on, nor the twists and turns.

I felt that the MC was getting passed between PAN and ROWAN constantly, it was just abit odd. I have so many questions as well.

I like Olivia & her relationship with Gwen.
I enjoyed the pirate ship scene.
I enjoyed like the twist on the FAE but was very confused. I like the Dark Ones.
LISA is very good at description of world & setting.
Profile Image for ....
78 reviews4 followers
November 23, 2022
i thought this take on the story Peter Pan was pretty good, but it’s also not something i’d want to read again. it was a bit mundane at most, but what i was really interested in was how this book was going to end. and indeed, it turned out that my favorite part of this entire story was the ending, lol.

i won’t give in too much detail about the ending, since i’m still new to writing reviews, so my thought process and all is still pretty.. not great (pfft).

i was somewhat expecting a cliche ending, but was pleasantly surprised when it took a more gloomy tone. i was a bit sad when Gwen didn’t pick Neverland, but i can also understand why she had chosen to go home.

all in all, 3 stars suites this book just fine.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,070 reviews2,631 followers
February 20, 2016
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/02/20/y...

Once again I was unable to resist the temptation of a book inspired by Peter Pan. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction at this point, whether it turns out for good or for ill. I have to say though, I had high hopes for Lisa Maxwell’s Unhooked when I first heard about it, with its blurb that hinted at such a different and unique vision. Because it offered such a cool new twist on Neverland unlike anything I’d seen before, I’d hoped this would mean something more than just another retelling, but in the end I was disappointed. This book could have gone in new directions, with virtually thousands of possibilities to explore, but all that potential was ultimately misspent on flat characters and superficial relationships.

What’s worse is that the beginning of this novel showed so much promise. Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn Allister has just arrived in London with her mother, a rather unstable woman who believes monsters are after her and her daughter. The two of them have bounced around the globe, never settling down in one place for long, but at least this time, Gwendolyn has her best friend Olivia along for moral support.

However, that first night in their dingy new flat, the two teens are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and are whisked off to a strange new land. Gwen, separated from Olivia, discovers that this place is called Neverland, like in the storybooks. But to her dismay, everything she thought she knew about those tales is a lie. The dashing pirate captain who claims to have rescued her is nothing like the Captain Hook she pictured in her mind, and the horrible things she hears about Peter Pan makes the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up sound more like the villain than a hero. The fairies are also nothing like Tinkerbell, but are actually frightening beings out of nightmare called the Dark Ones. Suddenly, Gwen’s mother doesn’t sound so crazy anymore. And worst of all, the longer Gwen stays in Neverland, the more her memories start to slip away. If she can’t figure out a way to find Olivia and escape this world, she might not even remember the home she comes from.

The best thing about Unhooked is the idea that the Captain and Pan are simply agents caught on opposite sides of a much bigger conflict—the one fought between the Dark Ones. The scary fairies are the ones playing both sides in order to get what they want, and what they want is Gwen because there is an important secret about her, something that she has no idea about. But therein also lies one of the biggest problems I had with this book. Simply put, Gwen’s ignorance makes her a helpless victim for much of the story, unable to exert any control over her fate like a leaf blown on the wind. I can’t even blame her for most of the disastrous decisions she makes, because what could she have done differently, being kept in the dark? Literally, the first thing the Captain does is to shut Gwen up in a room without deigning to explain anything. For her own good, probably. Even frightened and confused though, Gwen’s response to this mistreatment is the first stirrings of attraction for this intimidating stranger with a bionic arm who has locked her up for days and refused to answer any of her perfectly reasonable questions. When your instalove looks a lot like Stockholm syndrome, no thank you.

The real slap in the face though, was the unfortunate way Gwen and Olivia’s relationship played out. I love seeing strong, supportive female friendships in YA, and my spirits were lifted by Liv’s kindness and loyalty to Gwen at the beginning at the novel when our protagonist needed it the most. It really broke my heart to see a boy get between them in Neverland, even if the rift was caused by said boy’s special magic; I just wished we could have seen more of the two girls working together, especially since I found the story behind their friendship so intriguing. I was really bummed by the end of the book and thought Liv’s role was rather wasted.

All told, I was never truly able feel connected to Gwen and her relationships because I felt so little depth in her and the other characters. The Captain was probably the best written out of all of them and mostly because he had the advantage of a mini-backstory you could piece together at the beginning of each chapter, but the rest of the characters are very two-dimensional. The story also left me cold. This tale of Peter Pan and Neverland could have been so different and special, but it didn’t quite capture my imagination even with some of the very neat ideas in here, which I wish had been better executed. To be honest, Unhooked wasn’t all bad, but with so many retellings out there, it simply didn’t stand out as much as it could have, and these days I just can’t help being pickier.
Profile Image for Edgar Allan Hoe.
99 reviews77 followers
June 26, 2018
This book was fantastic. The plot, the characters -the sexy pirate who I've developed a painful crush on despite being a hetero male
I loved practically all the characters in this book, all except Gwendolyn. Uhhhg, she was the only downside to this entire story. She was so incredibly annoying. Throughout the entire story she had this act about her, trying to be some badass female, when in reality, she needed to be saved in nearly every chapter.

It basically was a lot like this;
"I don't need to be saved!" says Gwen as she is suddenly trapped between two of Pan's boys. "How dare the captain not try to save me, I knew he couldn't be trusted!!!!!!1111!!!1!!!"
Then as the captain saves her; "I didn't ask to be saved!!111!!!one!!!"

It was so irritating.

Not to mention there were so many young boys who died trying to save Gwen in all the millions of times she would get captured, and she didn't even blink an eye at the fact that they died BECAUSE OF HER.

Poor cap got beat up like 5 times in this story by rescue attempts, and she didn't seem to care the slightest. :(

Other than Gwendolyn, this story was really really really good. I'm definitely going to reread it here soon.

- - still waiting for the day a female protagonist isn't an annoying twat who tries to do things she obviously can't do bc 'she don't need no man'
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jaime (Two Chicks on Books).
825 reviews399 followers
December 20, 2015
I really liked this! I'm a huge fan of fairy tale retellings and most of the Peter Pan/Neverland ones I have read have been a huge disappointment. Not this one though! I thought Lisa wrote a beautiful story and I loved her take on Neverland and that things may not be as they seem. Let me also say I ADORED Hook but every time I thought of him I pictured Colin O'Donoghue from Once Upon A Time, lol that's not entirely a bad thing since I love his character Hook on the TV show. The MC Gwen was awesome I loved her not take crap from anyone attitude and that she was also a strong but vulnerable girl and that she was willing to risk everything to save the ones she loved. If you're looking for an awesome Neverland retelling this is definitely the book for you! Hell even if you're not and just love fantasy I say give this one a read!
Profile Image for Wanderlust_Wanz.
318 reviews47 followers
March 5, 2016
This is such an interesting retelling of Peter Pan!! I went into this book not knowing much and I was blown-away. Gone is the classic, light-hearted fairytale for this retelling embodied a much sinister and darker version. There are so many shocking and unexpected twists, be it characterisation or plot wise. Though some parts could be better elaborated and addressed such as the ending which I found a touch rushed and chaotic, it was nonetheless still a pleasurable and satisfying conclusion that quite nicely wraps up this intense plotline.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,362 followers
February 15, 2016

All vector art courtesy of Freepik.

1. * doesn't read summary* *has no idea what book is about other than Peter Pan retelling*
Hmm... This seems like they are in a modern-day setting. I thought a Peter Pan book would have a fantasy setting in Neverland.
>2. What is up with her mom?! Why is she so shady? *needs to know EVERYTHING*
3. Ohhhhh! Now they are off to Neverland ... or being carried to Neverland by creepy flying monsters.
4. Well, hello there, Captain. *turns on flirt mode*
Now make out already and proceed to make babies.
6. I do love these boys!
7. I always knew Pan was an asshole.
8. Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it.
UGH. GWEEEEEEN, WHYYY?? I kinda hate you a little right now.
9. Please don't let this be a love triangle. PLEASE.
10. Pan is even crazier than I initially thought he was. How is Gwen going to escape his clutches and save her friend??
11. I need the Captain to be back ... like ASAP.
12. He's BACK! But oh nooo...
13. Well, that got a little confusing there.
*goes back to re-read*
*finally comprehends what's going on*
14. Well, that makes me a little sad ... okay a lot. :(
On a side note, I need to pick up more books by Lisa Maxwell, because this was good!

Full review

I'm not actually sure what prompted me to pick up Unhooked, but I'm so glad that I did, because this ended up being an enjoyable Peter Pan retelling for me, based heavily on themes of friendship and the battle of good versus evil.

First things first, Unhooked illustrates clearly how characterizations is Maxwell's forte because all the characters in this book were fantastic and very well-developed. I initially wasn't sure what to make of our protagonist, Gwen's character, but she grew on me. I can't say I loved her all throughout because there were some moments when she frustrated me to no ends, but once I tried to imagine myself in her shoes, it was easy to see what motivated her to make those decisions. Other than those couple of scenes though, Gwen remained an intelligent and level-headed young woman, who was devoted to her best friend and very driven when it came to her goals. The Captain himself, was quite the swoony fellow, and while he was certainly a character with shades of grey, it was very easy to fall for this rogue of a boy. I promise it won't take Hook long to completely hook (HAHA) you in with his charisma and appeal. No doubt though, my favorite character was Pan. He was twisted, evil and pretty despicable. I loved how the author made readers question his intentions and how his true personality came through slowly throughout the book.

Unhooked's plot was centered around Gwen looking for her friend, Olivia, who was also stuck in Neverland and attempting to find her way home. It's definitely a slower paced story, but I still was thoroughly entertained, especially because of Pan. The ending was when the tension, the pace amped up and it was done really well. My only gripe with Unhooked was that the world building got a bit shaky towards the end of the book and I ended up having to re-read sections in order to understand what was really going on.  One of my favorite parts about Unhooked was the romance between Hook and Gwen. It was slow, subtle, very much to the background, but with a ton of palpable chemistry that developed with a tinge of antagonism in the beginning. Love triangle haters, fear not. Unhooked does not have a love triangle and that made me a very happy reader.

I haven't read any Peter Pan retellings in the past, but I reckon this is one of the best that's out there. I wholeheartedly recommend Unhooked and I look personally am already a fan of Lisa Maxwell, having just read this one book! I can't wait to dive into her other stories now.

unhooked coll All images courtesy of Pinterest.

Profile Image for ☾.
234 reviews1 follower
December 5, 2021
2.5 stars. i read this in 2017, didn’t rate it, forgot it was bad, and read it again in 2021 because my brain remembered it being good, and so each page was just me anticipating it getting better. it did not get better.
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
January 10, 2016
This review can be found on Happy Indulgence!

Thank you Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for a review copy!

I absolutely loved the concept for this book! It's intriguing, and certainly brings a dark twist to the tale Peter Pan that we all know and love. (Or do we? I've never read it myself.) The story starts with Gwen moving yet again because her mother is afraid of some monster that's chasing them. Fortunately for you readers who enjoy fast-paced books (like me), the action comes soon afterwards, when both Gwen and her friend Olivia gets picked up by monsters called "The Dark Ones" and dragged to a land where nobody grows into an adult.

"'In the world you came from, they tell tales of this place.'
His voice has gone so grave I'm almost afraid to ask, but I force myself to release the railing. 'They do?'
'Aye, they do.' His dark eyes glitter as he leans in close. 'Let me be the first to welcome you to Neverland.'"

In this story, no one is like who they are in the stories. Peter Pan, or Pan, may not be the fun guy we seem to think he is and Captain Hook has his own reasons for doing what he does. Their relationship was particularly interesting to read about, as well as how everything in Neverland came to be. Maxwell paints a twisted background to Neverland that keeps you guessing up until the very end.

When Gwen gets "saved" from Hook by the illustrious Pan, we start seeing how things are vastly different from the original story this was based off of. It seems like there might be a love triangle between her, Pan, and Hook, but rest assured that there isn't. Gwen knows that there's something fishy going on - especially when she realizes that Pan has Olivia under his thrall and refuses to give her back.

"There's something about the way he looks at me that makes me think he sees something in my that no one else ever has. Like I am something whole and strong and important. Being looked at like that - being seen - is something completely new and absolutely intoxicating.
And I don't trust it one bit."

I loved how devoted Gwen was to saving her friend Olivia, even after Pan constantly leads them on with his lies and illusions. The romance with Hook was also well-done. It was definitely a slow-burn that started gaining momentum as each person discovered secrets about the other. But let's be real, who wouldn't enjoy swoony scenes with a pirate? Hook himself was a complex character that unravels as we get to know him more. We're reminded about how "evil" he is in the book, yet his actions imply otherwise. As a retelling, Unhooked was refreshing and captivating enough to stand out on its own.

However, the word that comes out when I think about what I disliked is "more." I wanted more background on the beautiful world of Neverland, more explanations on why certain things (especially near the end) happened, more romance wouldn't have been bad too, but also more action from Gwen herself. The thing about her character is that for one move that was courageous and shows her spark, she is passive for two other situations - making her fall flat as a character. Have you ever read a book and a character is hesitating or stuttering and you can't help but shout "DO SOMETHING YO"? That was me with this one. And it would have been okay if she developed in the latter half of the book, but again and again, Gwen lets her actions be carried by other factors or characters, rather than herself. I recall only one time where she actually DID something near the end - which at that point was incongruent with the rest of the times she DIDN'T do anything for the rest of the book. It was all quite frustrating for me as a reader.

This is definitely a stand-alone (in fact, the end was more conclusive than I thought it would be), so if you're looking for a quick, fantasy fix than I'd recommend you pick this one up! Just don't expect too much from Gwen and instead prepare to be immersed in a version of Neverland that you've never seen before.

Not much could deter readers from picking up this enthralling retelling of Peter Pan, except for the passive main character that gets led by the story and not the other way around. However, Gwen still shows perseverance in finding her best friend Olivia through the captivating world of Neverland, with the help of a hot pirate. This dark, imaginative rendition of Peter Pan shines a different light on characters that we thought we knew while growing up.

3.5 stars -> 3.
The concept is probably my favorite part of this book, although I feel like execution could have gone better. The end is nicely put together as well as conclusive but there were quite a few concepts glossed over or rushed that would have been nice to be elaborated.
There was also surprisingly grotesque and violent scenes that were underwhelming. I knew it happened but never really cared about the deaths.
Literally Rowan (aka Hook) is bae <3. Main character (told in first person POV) could be quite bland at times, like she was missing a spark.
Overall this fantastical and fun retelling of Peter Pan will definitely stick with me for a while.

Thanks bunches to Edelweiss! A nicer review forthcoming on the blog. Currently it's 2 am so imma sleep lmao.
Profile Image for Brooke.
953 reviews188 followers
January 25, 2016
I want to thank Simon Pulse for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

So this is my second Peter Pan retelling in the last few months. The first one I read was from the POV of Captain Hook and it was phenomenal. It had me hooked back on this fairy tale I loved as a child. So given the chance to read more from this type of retelling I jumped at it. And since I'm a huge fan of Once Upon a Time, I love to read anything about Captain Hook! And I love retellings in general, so it really fit with me.

What can I say about Gwendolyn (Gwen...Wendy?)? I really enjoyed her character. She's a bit broken by all the moving she's done during her life and the lack of support she has received from her own mother. But she's also had to deal with a lifetime of her mother's craziness. I had empathy for her from the start. It's hard to deal with a parent who isn't really a parent. A parent who acts more like the child in the relationship. It causes the child to have to grow up way faster than they should. So Gwendolyn is quite mature for her age and resilient and strong. But she's ready to be set free of this life she's been shackled to. She wants to fit in somewhere, finally, and moving all over the place doesn't give her that opportunity.

When she and her mother, and her friend Olivia, arrive in London, she expects things to go as usual. But that's not quite what happens. She finds herself in another world, with people who fit in with the stories she's heard about Peter Pan. I love how Maxwell gets her there. And love how she's introduced to the characters. Honestly, it's hard to talk about this without spoiling anything.

I absolutely adored Captain Hook (Rowan) and Peter Pan. Their characters are unique and give you such a different look into who they are. I love the secrets that are revealed about each of the boys: where they came from, who they were before, who they have become. I definitely had a ton of empathy for Rowan, which I wasn't expecting at all. He was my favorite character in this book.

Gwen has a connection to Neverland she wasn't expecting. You see it right from the beginning of her arriving on the island. It's something that's unexpected, but oh so important to the story.

I will say that good and evil are not what you think they are in this story. There are so many twists and turns it's really hard to tell who Gwen can trust. And then Gwen finds out a secret about herself that she never saw coming, but makes total sense to her once it's revealed. And she has to take this new information and figure out how to use it.

The romance is done really well in this book. I loved how it built on itself and progressed. It didn't feel rushed or overly intrusive on the plot.

And Maxwell's writing is fantastic. It's beautifully written with the author showing you the scenes so thoroughly it's hard not to imagine yourself there with all the characters. And her ability to develop the characters is outstanding. She made them relatable and you know who you liked and who you didn't.

The story is wrapped up well, but definitely left open enough that the author could write another if she wanted to. I'm not usually a fan of the more open ended books, but it worked with this one!

Anyone who is a fan of A.G. Howard's Splintered will fall right into this book and not want to come up for air until it's done. With it's thrilling pace and intriguing plot, this book is sure to woo anyone who likes a fantastic fairy tale retelling!
Profile Image for Diabolica.
435 reviews51 followers
March 9, 2019
2 stars. Tried but couldn't like.

I picked this book up after getting hooked by the first chapter, and the cover was so nice. I liked the premise of the novel, and the side story written at the top of the chapters was quite interesting as well. When starting the novel, I began liking the main character, Gwendolyn (Gwen), and her friend Olivia, they seemed pretty cool.

However, the minute she got into Neverland, my opinion of her did a complete 180. She just kinda of annoyed me more than a little. Throughout the book, she would remark how beautiful the men on the island were. Upon first meeting Pan her description of him was more than a page. Not even that, while she was "angry" at Rowan, all she literally thought about was if she was just a little taller she could kiss him.

It didn't help that .

And after she discovered what was wrong with Pan and went a quest, there was no possible way that Neverland could have ended nicely for everyone. Cos The ending could have been slowed down a bit more, so the reader could savour the adventure and not her terribly poetic descriptions of the male characters.

Frankly, I didn't like the main character and since I was reading out of her lens for the novel, I couldn't enjoy the plot either.
Profile Image for Veronique.
255 reviews156 followers
April 23, 2017
I am so in doubt how to rate this book.. soo let's see what I liked about:
I liked Rowan (a lot)
I liked the world
I liked the question who's bad and who's good
I liked thw pirate boat idea...

Let's see what I didn't like:
The whole queen story was a bit vage and I really did not enjoy that part it was quite boring..
the choices the man character made weren't really clever (like at all) it was quite annoying.
I am not sure if I liked the writing style..

So for now a 3 star rating enjoyed it could have been a 4 star easily if the main character did not make some of tge stupid disicions she made totally unnecessary!
Profile Image for ✡Weed Dragon✡.
295 reviews20 followers
June 16, 2022
3.7 🐉

I love Dark fairytale retellings. I love Peter Pan retellings. And I loved this book.

I love how the world was portrayed, and the characters and everything. It would've been better if Hook was a little bit older but that's just my horny horny mind.

I wish there had been more tension or romance between Gwen and Pan, like more time to really let her fall a little bit for Pan thus making it harder for her to do what she has to do.

Good book overall, good standalone
Profile Image for T.
115 reviews132 followers
February 12, 2016
I expected nothing going into this book and came out having read a dark Peter Pan-inspired Fantasy romance with themes of war and loss. Some parts reminded me of The Neverending Story or that movie, The Dark Crystal...but YA aka w/ boyzzz. I enjoyed it overall. I definitely appreciate that it's a standalone and conclusive in terms of story arc and themes. Would recommend for readers who like their fairy tales dark, who like Captain Hook, who like portal fantasies, and who like grey characters.
Profile Image for Denise.
559 reviews
January 17, 2019
3.5 Sterne

Dieses Buch habe ich schon 2017 gekauft 🙈 und obwohl ich Retellings liebe, habe ich es erst jetzt gelesen 😅.

"Unhooked" ist ein eher düsteres Peter Pan Retelling. Es gibt keine großen Überraschungen, aber es liest sich gut 😅.
Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews484 followers
April 20, 2016

*whispers* GGGAAAYYY

I feel kinda conflicted about this book: I'm not sure how to rate it, how to review it, how to feel about it even. You know, if I haven't watched Once Upon a Time, I would've probably enjoyed it. And at the same time, OUAT is an actual reason, why I've picked the book up.

Unhooked shares too many similarities with OUAT, and it was a little irritating. No, at first I was amused by it (like OH I'VE SEEN THIS IN OUAT. OH, SUCH A FUNNY COINCIDENCE). But then it became a little annoying.. See, I'm not accusing the author of anything, it may be just me, or it is really just coincidences. The plot isn't even a little close but some details totally are.

Things I've noticed:
• Gwen (the MC) got into the Neverland almost the same way Baelfire did.
• Rowan aka Captain Hook sounded just like Killian Jones (I think it's totally me and my suffering heart speaking lol)
• On a ship Pan was adressed as Himself
• The Dark Ones (even though it made me giggle but can it really be a coincidence)
• Pan's need to kill Gwen to become powerful
• Some stuff with Pan's shadow in the very end
•The Lost Boys in the very beginning (on a ship) looked pretty much as The Lost Boys in OUAT.
etc, etc.

I know, I may just cavil at it. I'm not blaming or accusing the author of anything, but I couldn't help noticing all those details.

As for the book itself, it was a pretty fun ride (I've skipped my P.E. classes to finish it (oops)). If you haven't watched OUAT you may find yourself surprised at some twists (for me it as very predictable though).
I didn't like Gwen. I've found her a little annoying. Some of her choices were understandable but at the others I've been rolling my eyes so hard, it still hurts. Rowan (aka Cap) and Pan were so cool! At first I've imagined them just like in the OUAT but then they got their distinct images.

The writing is fine but I've found Hook's biography short bits about war and his brother a little unnecessary. Also, for me the first half of the book was more interesting and enjoyable than the second one.

I don't really know how to rate it. I guess I'll just give it 7 out of 10 mark (and round it up for Goodreads (GIMMEHALFSTARS)).

p.s. sorry for OUATing this review too much lol
Profile Image for Yvonne (It's All About Books).
2,108 reviews260 followers
February 5, 2017
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Finished reading: January 22nd 2017
Rating 3qqq

“Hers might never be calm or easy paintings, but those canvases are the way she keeps herself centered. She needs to create, or she will lose herself bit by bit to her fears and delusions.”

P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
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