Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Summary (via Goodreads): 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.
My exposure to Peter Pan stories is limited i.e. I’ve only watched the Disney movies, so I don’t have much to compare this book to. But I thought Brianna did an amazing job showing us the other side of the story, showing us how Captain Hook became the man we know him as. I ended up giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for approving my request for this eARC.
So I’ll spill and tell you all that the major reason that I requested this eARC (other than it being a retelling) was because Brianna was one of the mentors in Pitch Wars and I ended up submitting my manuscript to her. She’s an awesome person, and I really couldn’t wait to read her book. And she did not disappoint!
We start out in London where James Hook is originally from. He is still a “children” as Peter Pan puts it. We see a little bit of his home life before we’re thrust into Neverland, where we see a twisted, devilish side to Peter Pan that is completely different from the Pan we’re used to. This story is definitely not for the faint of heart, or younger audiences if they don’t like a bit of gore and sadism. After reading this book, I find myself liking Captain Hook and kind of despising Peter Pan.
I think Brianna did a great job with the scenery and showing the interactions between the children, especially the dynamic between Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. I felt terrible for James throughout the story. Peter was pretty evil throughout the entire book. I found myself grimacing and feeling a bit of fear at how sadistic he seemed to be.
Along with James Hook, Tiger Lily was one of my favorite characters. She’s fierce and beautiful. She’s the proud daughter of a chief. I totally ship the pairing that showed up in the books. I only wish it would have worked out a little better. And speaking of better, the ending wasn’t my favorite, but I understand why Brianna ended it how she did.
The way Brianna had the book divided into sections helped us glimpse various stages of Captain James Hook’s life. Each section gave us some insight into the rivalry between Hook and Pan. We got to see James Hook when he first got to Neverland, when he was growing up at an alarming rate, when he first became a pirate, and when he was the toughest pirate in the seas of Neverland.
I was so engrossed in reading the eARC that I didn’t make note of very many lines, except two, that I liked: “Yes, sir, I’m afraid I got myself rather murdered, following an obviously deranged fellow wearing the guts of a tree into the dark in the middle of the night.” and “Are you mad? Why ever would anyone want to grow up?”
Final note: It’s a really good book, and I recently purchased a paperback copy to add to my personal library. I can’t wait to read Brianna’s next book! Give it a try; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.