Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Review: An Adventure With Captain Hook's *Daughter*? YES PLEASE

Egads, you guys, it's been waaaaay too long since I recommended a good read. Partly because I'm not reading enough books (bad Jen, baaaad), partly because I've decided to reserve my reviews only for books I'm ultimately going to recommend you read. So now that I've just posted that spoiler (OOPS), let's talk:


Hook's Revenge, by our very own Heidi Schulz.

I say "our very own" because Heidi is a reader, and actually sent me an advance copy of Hooks' Revenge a very, VERY long time ago. She's also pretty active over on Fans of Epbot, which is where I discovered this fabulousness from her premier party:

HI HEIDI!

Ok, so obviously any author who dresses up to match her book theme is already someone we want to be friends with - but can she write?

YUP.

Hook's Revenge is a quick, easy YA read focusing not on Captain Hook of Neverland, but on his daughter. Young Jocelyn Hook never knew her father, but at age 12 she is charged with avenging his untimely demise by hunting down and destroying a certain infamous crocodile.

I love stories that revisit and twist classic fairy tales, and Hook's Revenge does that in spades. We get dashes of the familiar - Smee! Peter Pan! Neverland! - thrown in with an all new adventure and new characters. Jocelyn is the typical rebel we love in all the great stories: the girl who - to borrow from that song John won't stop listening to - refuses to "sit still and look pretty." She is daring and brave and loyal, and her adventure is one of those delightful romps parents will enjoy reading to their little ones.

I especially adore the way Schulz wrote Peter Pan, who is such a minor character he barely graces a dozen pages. It's Peter Pan exactly as we know him, but written from the perspective of a modern, independent young girl who has no time for "silly boys." Jocelyn's conversation with Peter as he attempts to "rescue" her from her own pirate ship is gold. I was half-tempted to include some here, but no; there is too much. You'll just have to go see for yourself.

Hook's Revenge is listed with an age range of 8-12, so it's a safe family read. There's one line about Jocelyn seeing some corpses early on that was a teeny bit icky, and the crocodile *might* scare especially small listeners, but that's about it.

Oh, and one advantage of my taking two years to read Schulz' debut novel: she's already released the sequel!



In Hook's Revenge: The Pirate Code Jocelyn sets off to find her father's famous treasure. Niiiice. If you've already read it, be sure to let me know what you thought in the comments!

And if you're looking for more recommended reads, hop over to my Book Review Page. My top favorites are starred, so you can scroll down quickly and see if we have similar taste. Plus there are a LOT more recommendations in the comments there, which I'm still working my way through!

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Now, let's announce some art winners!

The winner of the "Dogtor Who" print is: Science and Static (Trapeze)
The winner of "The Targaryen Girl" is: Crystal Pauley
And my wild card winner is: MaiiLuna

Congrats, you three, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!

21 comments:

  1. Awww, really? Please don't limit your reviews only to books you'd recommend. If you read a book and you don't like it, that's just as important as one you do like!
    I'm so contrary that I like a lot of books that other people have rated low. It's all opinion anyway, and giving your opinion is what it's all about!!
    I read Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Childre when you recommended it, and I just heard yesterday that it's going to be a movie. I suppose everyone knew that already, but I just found out.

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    1. Hmm, OK, let's make it a compromise: I'll still review books I'm not crazy about - and tell it like it is - provided I finish the book and can still someone *else* liking it. There are lots of those, and relatively few that I dislike so much I can't even talk about it. ;)

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    2. Yay! I'm gonna second Betty's comment and applaud your compromise. I think you have really, really helpful reviews and I recommend them to folks all the time (well--the whole blog, too (of course!) but the book reviews are a natural entry point for some people, and I know that you are very careful about potential problem spots). Even when you end up not liking a book, it is enormously helpful to know why/get an idea about the content.

      Although I will say, whenever you say you LIKE a book, it goes immediately in my shopping cart on Amazon. =-)

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  2. Cooooooool! Nice work, Heidi! I'm looking forward to buying both of these for my niece's Festivus gift this year, and if I happen to read them before I give them to her, she'll never know, heh. ;-)

    KW

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  3. I need to add this to my list, read it, then save it for when my daughter gets just a little bit older. Thank you! I love your book recommendations

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  4. Annnnnd I just ordered the 2 of them. Well, pre-ordered the second, as it doesn't release until tomorrow. I'm always on the lookout for new books for my youngest to read. I love that he got a bunch of my nerd genes :D

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  5. Annd I know what my neice is getting for Christmas. :) Grats winners!

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  6. This book sounds AWESOME! :D I'll have to get it...for my kid. Yeah. Kid.

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  7. These are going on my kids Christmas list :)

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  8. Oh my gosh! I have been an EPBOT reader/lurker since Day 1, and a Cake Wrecks reader since before the Carrot Jockeys. This is so exciting! HI, JEN! I'm so glad you liked Hook's Revenge! Thank you for reviewing it! ⚓️🐊😄

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    1. Congrats on both books, Heidi! I'm looking forward to reading them (no kids on whom to blame the purchase). :)
      -Zippy

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    2. Thank you, Zippy! And no kids required. 😜

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  9. Squeeee! I'm so glad you've read this book now too!! I'm constantly recommending it! It's one of my favorites, and the second is just as good! It was given to my daughter as a christmas gift and I stole it!

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  10. I recently discovered the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, and holy cow are they good. I devoured the first 3 in 4 days, and the 4th one comes out tomorrow! His Bartimaeus series is super good too!

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  11. Ages 8 to 12? Wouldn't that be MG (middle grade), not YA? I'm not sure anymore.

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    1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a MG book that is a fairy tale with a twist. I love that she (Ella) doesn't sit there and look pretty either. :)

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  12. Heidi Schultz came to my son's school last year for an assembly. He fell in love with her and wouldn't let it go until we got the book. So Heidi, you have a 10-year-old fan and he was so excited to see this book reviewed on Epbot!

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    1. Schulz not Schultz. Dang autocorrect.

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    2. Thank you so much! Tell your son I said hello!

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  13. JEN! JEN!! Holy bananas!!
    Things I learned at my kiddo's PTA meeting tonight: Heidi lives in my home town (what!? How are we like not the best of friend!?) AND we are going to have her come (hopefully) spend a day at our elementary school! I about flipped!!
    Just had to share my excitement :D

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