ARC Book Review: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

Posted September 5, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi SchulzHook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz
Series: Hook's Revenge #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 16th, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo America

Captain Hook's feisty daughter hits the high seas to avenge her father's death at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile in Heidi Schulz's spirited middle-grade debut.

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she's sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb's Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn's hopes of following in her father's fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she'd bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland's most fearsome beast isn't enough to deal with, she's tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile's clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz's debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

5 Stars

I don’t even think I can recall the last time that I’ve been so utterly freaking delighted about a book – that I loved every minute of it and happily put it on my “everything-i-wanted” shelf on Goodreads. Hook’s Revenge, Heidi Schulz’s amazing middle grade debut, completely swept me off my feet. I’m head over heels for a book… and a middle grade book at that. You know what, don’t even read my review, I can’t do this book justice – just go buy this book right now.

…What? You’re still here? *sigh* Guess I’ll write a review after all then.

And that, my friends, is an example of the delightful narration you’ll encounter in Hook’s Revenge. In a tone very similar to Lemony Snicket’s in his Series of Unfortunate Events, the narrator of Hook’s Revenge is an older guy who is wonderfully snarky and sadistic, and he bemoans the effort of having to tell this story. From page one, I was bursting with laughter. His sarcastic and witty tone is just absolutely perfect, and it absorbed me into the story right away. Seriously. Sheer hilarity. I don’t know if I have ever laughed out loud so much with one book. It was exactly what I needed.

I expect that you’d like to know about the most famous of all pirates, Captain James Hook. As I am the world’s foremost expert on him, naturally you turned to me. Children come to me all the time, begging to hear what I know. I graciously seat them in a circle around me, lean in, and whisper, “Not a chance.”

I don’t like children all that much. Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz (ARC)
There is no use putting it off any longer; it is time to tell what I know, lest the girl’s story die with me. Settle in, I suppose. Do be sure not to touch anything, and for heaven’s sake, please don’t breathe so loudly. If you’re quite comfortable, I’ll pour myself a little drink and begin. If you’re not comfortable, I’ll begin anyway. Your comfort is of little concern to me. Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz (ARC)

I’m not going to spam you with quotes – though I would well be able to, because I went crazy with post-its for this book, marking at least 30 passages that were either completely hilarious, top-notch witty or extremely sweet. But the writing is absolutely brilliant – you can trust me on that.

Now, Hook’s Revenge is an extension to the story of Peter Pan. Our main character is Jocelyn, the daughter of Captain Hook. She is absolutely fierce. I loved her immediately. She’s 12 years old at the start of the story, and she idolizes her father. She wants nothing more than to become a pirate and go on pillaging adventures with him. Unfortunately, she’s stuck on the mainland with her grandfather, who decides to send her to finishing school so that she might start acting a little more ladylike. This book is bursting with girl power and destroys gender stereotypes, which makes me love it SO MUCH MORE.

Acting ladylike is Jocelyn’s worst nightmare, pretty much. Having to dress nicely in clean clothes? Having to walk calmly? Speak politely? Sing traditional songs instead of sea shanties? Sleep in a room that is ENTIRELY pink? EW. All she wants to do is run around and go on adventures, and I loved that about her so much. She’s brave, resourceful, and all-around inspiring. She’s also supremely snarky – she’s not taking shit from ANYBODY. (“I blame myself, really.” “I blame you too. So we are agreed,” Jocelyn replied.) She has a bit of a reckless streak in her, but that makes her so much more adorable. She gets bullied by some of the prim prissy little girls at the finishing school, so she gets revenge on them in the most badass ways. Oh, what? You don’t want a snake in your pocket? Too bad.


Oh, by the way, are you one of those people who is like, “Ehh, I don’t think I could ever ship two characters in a middle grade book,”? Read this. And try not to ship Jocelyn and Roger because OH MY GOD THEY ARE SHEER PERFECTION. Roger is the cook’s helper and undergardener at the finishing school, and the two quickly become friends due to a shared love of adventure and snarky sense of humor. Banter banter banter ensues. I was flailing. It was just too awesome. Are they too young and will this probably never happen? I don’t care.

He put his sword down and sat on the floor near Jocelyn, leaning against the couch. “Don’t die,” he said. “What fun would that be? For me, I mean.”

She reached over and gave him a little shove. “This is serious.”

“Oh yes. Serious. I can tell.” He arranged his face into mock gravity. “Do you dance?” Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz (ARC)

Right, but um, the story. So after a while at finishing school, Jocelyn finally gets a letter from her father, Captain Hook. Unfortunately, this means he’s died, and he’s left her with the task to avenge him. Soon, she’s off to Neverland to hunt down the crocodile. It’s super fun and engaging – and again, I was giggling like mad the whole way through. She puts together a crew of wannabe pirates and tries to live up to her father’s name while battling the stigma that “she’s just a little girl so she can’t do anything”. Again: girl power. She even meets Peter Pan who’s like the greatest freaking douchebag, immediately assuming he needs to rescue her and refusing to believe she can do anything. Wow, was he always such a sexist asshole? PROVE HIM WRONG, JOCELYN.

Fuck you dude. But don’t worry, Jocelyn doesn’t tolerate this bullshit because she’s too damn awesome.

Anyway, she has more adventures, encountering the mermaids, the crocodile, the lost boys, the fairies, etc etc which all just makes this such a richly detailed world – fitting with what we know of Peter Pan perfectly. The end of the book also adds in a heartfelt message about family and some of the insecurities that Jocelyn struggles with, which really brought the feels for me. There are so many good messages that readers can pull out of this book, so I’m going to be recommending it like crazy. I enjoyed every single second of it and never wanted to put the book down. Hook’s Revenge is everything. I just want moooooore.

Summing Up:

When I picked this book up at BEA, I had no idea that I would be falling head over heels for it. Hook’s Revenge is a brilliantly written debut full of fun adventures, a great cast of characters, utter hilarity, and tons and tons of girl power. It was everything I wanted. Everything. This would easily appeal to middle grade readers, reluctant readers, and young adult readers looking to branch out. With its beautiful cover and wonderful illustrations, I’ll be adding a finished copy to my shelves super soon and desperately awaiting the sequel.

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

EVERYONEEEEE – fans of Lemony Snicket and Rick Riordan in particular.

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9 responses to “ARC Book Review: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

  1. Oh my gosh, I love the quotes! I was laughing already, this bodes well indeed. What a fun review for an awesome sounding book! I don’t read a lot of MG (pretty picky about it) but I love Peter Pan retellings/reimaginings and pre-ordered Hook’s Revenge months ago. Looks like I made the right choice. It sounds charming and hilarious and I like the idea of a mini ship!! Perfect Peter gifs btw 🙂

  2. MJ

    Hmmm, might have to give it a try. I’m not that keen on middle grade, only because I’ve had bad experiences. But I do like anything Peter Pan oriented.

    • I’m tempted to say that this is the best middle grade book I’ve ever read. I think it has TONS of crossover appeal, so I do hope you’ll give it a shot!