Disney-Hyperion, 2014. 978-1423198673
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Jocelyn Hook dreams of becoming a famous pirate like her father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, would prefer to see her become a refined lady like her mother. So when Jocelyn receives a posthumous letter from her father asking her to take revenge on the Neverland crocodile by whose jaws he met his untimely demise, she jumps at the chance for an adventure. But will she be able to live up to her father’s name with a motley crew of untrained pirates and that pesky Peter Pan always getting in the way?
Why I picked it up: I love new twists on familiar characters.
Why I finished it: I am always drawn to spunky characters that don’t want to fit into their assigned molds and Jocelyn certainly draws in the reader from the first page. She’s clearly bored with her life and she’s looking for something to relieve the monotony of finding new ways to get rid of her tutors. And just as her skills are about to be put to the test when her grandfather sends her to finishing school, she happens upon the perfect escape plan. Sure, she doesn’t know a lot about being a pirate, but how much knowledge does one actually need to be able to pillage and plunder? She certainly has a lot to live up to, but she’s ready to take on the challenge, no matter what is thrown at her, and no matter who or what gets in her way. Really, Jocelyn is just like the reader: she wants to figure out who she is, where she belongs, how she can best make her mark on the world, and she wants to share in an adventure with her friends. The narrator is equally engaging, though somewhat unenthused at being enlisted to tell Jocelyn’s tale – his asides add another layer of humor to the story and help to guide us around the classic setting. Schulz stays true to the Neverland that we know and love from the Barrie novel and the Disney movie, but is able to add her own touches that make the story unique to her lively cast of characters. It’s a fun, funny, and moving story that will appeal to reader’s sense of adventure and their inner pirate.
Other related materials: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie; Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrations by Scott M. Fischer; Peter and the Starcatchers books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, illustrations by Greg Call; Peter and the Starcatchers Never Land books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, illustrations by Gregg Call; Kingdom Keepers books by Ridley Pearson; The Sisters Grimm books by Michael Buckley; The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey; The 8th Continent series by Matt London; Somebody on This Bus is Going to Be Famous by J.B. Cheaney; Greenglass House by Kate Milford, illustrated by Jamie Zollars; The Scavengers by Michael Perry; The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann; Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke, illustrations by Kerstin Meyer