Read Hook's Revenge immediately! Fast, fun, and hilarious, this debut novel by Heidi Schulz will appeal to elementary age and middle school kids for sure, but also even older people to include adults, because of the dry wit and rather inappropriate comments of the old pirate narrator who dislikes children. (He's my favorite part.)
It's a brilliantly conceived novel, based on the world of Peter Pan. Jocelyn is Hook's daughter, and though she has never met him, she is determined to be a dangerous pirate one day, nevermind that everyone else wants her to conform and be a nice little lady at finishing school.
When she learns of her father's death from the fearsome crocodile, she seeks revenge on the giant creature in Neverland itself. But this turns out to be harder than she thought it would be.
Funny, but also touching without crossing into sappy, this is a book for everyone. Hook's Revenge has received outstanding reviews from all sorts of critics, to include School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Booklist. Furthermore, Hook's Revenge was selected as one of the top 100 children's books of 2014 by the New York Public Library. This is a book that is well worth your time.
Amusingly, the game the girls are playing was intended for little girls, so it's full of pink, purple, unicorns, flowers and tea parties. The game, though, resents the changes Emily has been making to it, and is fighting back. The little cotton-candy pink sprites that spit glitter are my favorite.
The story is very clever, well-written, and fast-paced. If you enjoy gaming, you'll have fun seeing how the main characters use the gaming world to reach their goals.
It's a great fit for upper-middle grade, on up. It's listed for 10-14 as the main audience and the main character is 14. So if you are in 5th-9th grade, this book is written especially for you. Don't let the pink cover throw you-- it suits both boys and girls, especially anyone who is a gamer. (And we all know there's plenty of awesome girl gamers out there!)
What I liked most is that this is a story about the relationship between two sisters. There are no boyfriends who feature in this story, though a bad breakup does play a small role in the back story, but the story is not about him. This has no lovesick drama, no sparkling vampires. Instead, it's about a little sister and big sister coming to grips with who they are, both alone and in relation to each other. I enjoy a good romance, but it's really nice to see girls solving problems and interacting without a guy being the focus. (Such a storyline is so rare in fiction and movies that there's even a name for it. It's called the Bechdel Test, to see if two female characters --who are actually named-- speak in a story without talking about a male. A fabulous YA book that passes the test with flying colors is Code Name Verity, which I reviewed in my other blog here.)
At ANY rate, the big sister is a smart game designer engineer who learns that running away from her problems isn't the way to deal with them, and the younger sister learns that she can do more than she thought she could, too. Grace always thought of herself as the plain, boring one compared to her high-achieving, popular sister (can anyone relate?), but now her sister needs help and Grace rises to the occasion.
It's really just a lovely story, and a fun one to read. Two big thumbs up! Now I think I'll go find some of her other books and see if I enjoy those as much as this one!
Reviews (as shown on Amazon):
To those of you in 4th-8th grade and older, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of intermediate school, middle school, and high school.