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We Are Pirates

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,439 ratings  ·  516 reviews
Mega-bestselling author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) gives us his long-awaited and most ambitious novel yet: a dark, rollicking, stunningly entertaining human comedy.

A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
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Average rating 2.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,439 ratings  ·  516 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Dec 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs, read-in-2015
Find all of my reviews at:

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It is with great sadness that I come to this review space and tell you I might be throwing in the towel when it comes to Daniel Handler. Sorry Daniel, its not me its you. I was terrified of reading anything of the non-Lemony Snicket variety and was so happy when I read and looooooooved The Basic Eight . I mean this was a hardcore unhealthy kind of love. Like get a restraining order against me kind of love. I loved it so much that
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Gwen has been a bad, BAD girl.

Now, she's receiving a fitting punishment for a 14-year-old - spending time in a building drenched with old-people smell while she serves as companion to Errol, a retired Navy vet suffering from Alzheimer's. He's currently incarcerated in a home for the elderly, and of course, he's not happy about it. An unlikely friendship is kindled as Gwen spends her days reading swashbuckling books aloud to Errol. But, in a rare case of too much reading being bad for you, Gwen
Sam Quixote
Sep 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Spoilers, I guess, but unless youre obligated to read/review it like me because you foolishly clicked request on Netgalley - and I cant stress this next part enough - I really would NOT bother with this tripe!

Gwens a 14 year old schoolgirl whos recently turned to shoplifting because shes bored and lonely or something. She has crappy friends until she meets Amber, another wayward teen, who gets her. Together they form a ragtag group of pirates who decide to float around the San Francisco bay
Ron Charles
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Ahoy, parents: Daniel Handlers new novel, We Are Pirates, spools out a series of unfortunate events, but its not for your kids and dont let the fantastic embossed cover lead you astray. Although the scent of Lemony Snickets gothic humor lingers over this tale of upper-middle-class despair, its assuredly one of Handlers adult books.

(Watch Totally Hip Video Book Review here.)

As the voyage begins, we seem to be sailing into the still, clear waters of domestic satire. Phil and Marina Needle live in
*NetGalley book review*

What a hoot this book was. A Handler book for adults who enjoyed the Snicket books. I absolutely do not want to give anything away. But this is a excellent book.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was lied to. Not enough swash buckling.
Wart Hill
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc2014, netgalley
you can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving

I received a free ARC via NetGalley

Up until now, my only experience with Daniel Handler has been Lemony Snicket. Its good to know his books for adults are just as strange, if a little more on the holy wtf? side than his books for kids. And you can tell hes the same author, his quirks kind of shine through - most notable, a few times he says at this time in American history and then goes onto explain what goes on at this time in
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
This was originally published on The Scrying Orb

OK, I did not like this. But what makes it rare is that, unlike most books I dont like, this one is actually well written. Handler can write a character sketch and spin a phrase.Theres even an effective twist that I still found fun/surprising at the end of the novel when I no longer cared about anything and just wanted to finish. He just cant write a believable plot or acknowledge the reader can only spend so much time with blandly reprehensible
Rashika (is tired)
***I literally have no idea what to rate this book***

This was, my first book by Daniel Handler. Ive read all the books he has written as Lemony Snicket but none that he has written as Daniel Handler. I must say, I am shocked. I guess this is how JK Rowling fans felt when they read The Casual Vacancy expecting it to remind them of their(our) beloved Harry Potter series but instead got something else. I can see his signature humor in this book but its darker in ways the humor in The Series of
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought this much better than Watch Your Mouth, though not nearly as good as Adverbs and The Basic Eight. As with two of the aforementioned, this is a satire of American life with a teenage girl as a main character. The 'real' pirate adventure in the middle is what I didn't care for; I enjoyed much more what came before and after.
Althea Ann
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended for fans of Handler's 'Basic Eight' but definitely not for those who only like Lemony Snicket.

The book started very slowly for me. Its exploration of the life of a not-very-successful Jewish radio announcer in California reminded me very much in tone of Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.

However, once the focus shifts to the radio guy's 14-year-old daughter, the pace picks up. As in 'Basic Eight,' this book deals with that fine line where things spill irretrievably over the edge.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2015, unreviewed

All apologies to Will Chancellor, whose A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall I had just started, but everything in my life stops now that I have this beauty in my hot little hands.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This and other reviews at

I have been waiting for this weird and wonderful work to be published for years. Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite book of all time is Daniel Handlers Adverbs, and while We Are Pirates is entirely different, its packed full of all the usual things that make Handlers work brilliant. Powerful, funny prose that catches you by surprise with its unique ability to frame reality, a collection of believable characters that still somehow verges
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ten years ago I read the first book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning, because two of the girls I was tutoring at the time were reading the series. Lemony Snicket became a huge success but he wasn't real. He was a pen name.

I never continued reading the series though I fell in love with Violet, Klaus, and baby Sunny. They are the kind of kids I've loved in fiction ever since I read The Secret Garden and Pippi Longstocking. The real writer behind the pen name
Cisco Covino
Apr 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is easily the worst book I've ever read and I'm usually pretty generous with my appreciation of different stories, even if they're not my cup of tea. I wouldn't even bother writing a review of this, but I thought that just maybe, if somebody was on the fence about reading this and this review helped dissuade them, then it'd be worth it.

First off, I wouldn't have rated this book if I hadn't finished it (which is why I rarely rate books below three) but by the time I realized I wanted nothing
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt
Seen at Bookish Antics!

When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Lemony Snicket; devouring A Series Of Unfortunate Events and anything else I could find by the elusive mastermind. When Snicket tried to branch off from his middle-grade books with Why We Broke Up, a Printz winning novel that critics loved, I was surprised to see how irritated I was by it. I decided to give Handler another shot and We Were Pirates sounded like it was totally my drift: a book about PIRATES with a glowing blurb by Neil
Actual rating 3.5 stars

When trying to think of something to compare We Are Pirates to, the closest thing that comes to mind - in terms of dark humour, characters, and world building - is American Beauty.

The book itself isn't quite what the blurb suggested, with the actual piratey adventure beginning only after the halfway mark, and not lasting very long at all. But, where I had gone into this book thinking it would perhaps be a cheesy, feel-good family ride, I was mistaken.

Here there be
KL (Cat)
Sep 28, 2014 marked it as to-read
The majority of reviews are negative, but recently I've read an interview where Handler says "Over the years, the idea of the novel [WAP] was further shaped by noticing a certain type of fury in some adolescent girls" and quite honesty I am sold.
Frances Sawaya
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
What did you think? Do I give this a 2? a 3? a 4? Can't give a 5; 1 is too harsh. Average seems correct. No, no, the writing is really above average. But the statements about life are off the mark, so it deserves a 2. Average = run of the mill. This book certainly isn't that. Damn and blast and yo-ho-ho...

I finally settled on a 4-star rating because this book made me think about my life and life around me and beyond. Some reflections:

1.) Lots of irony in that Gwen/Octavia was punished for theft
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014
The basic premise is a disaffected teenager decides to steal a boat with her friend, an old man with serious dementia and an orderly from a nursing home and become pirates in the San Francisco bay in the style of the golden age of piracy.

However because the book does not shy away from the brutal and murderous realities of piracy, it reads as two 14 year olds with the psychotic mentality of school shooters kidnapping a seriously mentally unstable old man with no real plan whatsoever. The
Apr 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I tried, but I just could not seem to get past page 50. That's my new rule. If I can't make it past page 50, I move on. Too many books, too little time. Not sure why it didn't click for me. Just didn't.
Elise C
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5/5. Some good ideas, surprisingly dark at times. Confusingly written and very slow to get into.
Homa Lezgee
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
I bought "We Are Pirates" for 16 euros after reading this by Neil Gaiman on the cover: The strangest, most brilliant offering yet from the mind behind Lemony Snicket. Other quotes included dazzlingexuberantly funnygorgeous.

After reading the book, I felt totally betrayed and for the first time ever, I sensed the urge to burn each and every page of a book (the object I most value in my life).

First of all, that Neil Gaiman quote obviously plays with the emotions of people like myself who adored
This book was so..... Just so weird.. I don't know how to feel about it?? I enjoyed reading it because I enjoy the way Daniel Handler writes and while there were so many things I didn't like, I ended up enjoying the book as a whole... ?????

It's just so very strange and I'm only giving it 2 stars because I am just SO confused about how I'm meant to feel about it.

The whole thing seems to revolve around people wanting an adventure in their lives and how far they are willing to get it. I think?????
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first Daniel Handler, not as Lemmony Snicket, book I have read. I was drawn to it by the quirkiness of the Series of Unfortunate Events and the reviews of Handler's Why We Broke Up. It also didn't hurt that Neil Gaiman has a quote about the book on the front ;-)
Fans of the weird and strange Alex Crow or Grasshopper Jungle type will like this as well as fans of the bizarre.
I will be honest and say I found it hard to get into the book and like Gwen. However I am happy to report it is
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: male, us
There are some magnificent chunks of text in this, and I have nothing against the idea, but the story really just doesn't work. It's ambitious to write horrible, random crimes in such a whimsical fashion, but for me it was so jarring I couldn't believe that it was real (even within the context of this fantastical world).
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Bleh. Couldn't sympathize with any of the characters, wanted to shake them in disgust honestly. Has some sea/pirates/ship metaphors and terminology, along with a bit of real piracy. But even if you like pirates, this is just a sad tale about some sad people who honestly could do with a bit more sense in their head.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I love Daniel Handler. He has a wonderful writing style. This story is funny, and dark, and complicated. But simple. Can we escape? Will they escape? From what?

OE: language, etc.
Rosie Fakkema
Mar 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Snow
I liked Gwen's parts, I was bored stupid by her dad's parts. I finished part 1, then read a spoiler (view spoiler) and I'm not sure I care anymore. Sometimes I'll seek out a spoiler if I'm a bit bored with a book and it might reinvigorate my will to finish, but not so much here.
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2015 Reading Chal...: We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler 3 30 Jun 13, 2015 03:42PM  

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Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs and, most recently, the Michael J. Printz Honor-winning Why We Broke Up, a collaboration with noted illustrator Maira Kalman. He also worked with Kalman on the book Girls Standing on Lawns and Hurry Up and Wait (May 2015). Under the name Lemony Snicket he has written the best-selling books series All The Wrong ...more

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