Published by Spencer Hill Press on August 14th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, retelling, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: Paperback from Author
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. Except one.
Never Never is a Peter Pan retelling told from Captain Hook’s perspective. This standalone novel is Brianna Shrum’s debut book and I thought she did a really good job with it. I loved that it was Hook’s story. It was reminiscent of the kind of hook and pan from Once Upon a Time, so if you love Hook in that show as much as I do, this is a book you will want to check out. It features an evil Pan, and a more nuanced, but very much bent on revenge Hook. This Hook doesn’t hold a candle to Storybrook’s Hook, but it did come much closer than I expected it to.
Never Never follows Hook throughout his life, starting out when he was a small boy. This was his first run in with Peter Pan, and it was clear that as soon as Peter tricked Hook that his hatred started. And it only grew throughout the story. Hook is a very different person than many of Peter’s lost boys. He did want to grow and, and further he wanted to go home. It was then that I started to feel for Hook. But don’t get me wrong, he is not a woe is me, misunderstood-villain-that-is-really-a-hero. Maybe he is misunderstood, but he is also not a pure of heart person. He is not a hero. He is still Captain Hook and his story is the one that you know well, but that was kind of what I loved about Never Never. Author Brianna Strum takes the story that we all love, stays true to the events in it, but still manages to make us see the characters in a different light. It was really cool. There were many shades of gray to labeling Hook as a Villain. It was a highlight of the book for me. I always find it interesting to see a person change throughout their life and to see how their experiences shapes them.
The romance between Hook and Tiger Lily was a pleasant surprise as well. I didn’t think Never Never would have quite as much romance in it. I have always seen Hook as kind of a solitary figure so it was both an adjustment and nice to see him interact with someone he genuinely cares for. I didn’t love Tiger Lily (especially towards the end) but she was an interesting character.
Bottom line: if you are a fan of retellings, you should add this one to your TBR list. Especially if you like retellings from the point of view of unexpected characters. Whether you love Hook or you hate him, I think you will enjoy Never Never.