Book Reviews

Review: Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan and Captain Hook became enemies? If so, this story is perfect for you. Henry takes all your unanswered questions and weaves us a plot that changes our perspective forever.

Summary

I am absolutely in love with the Goodreads synopsis and it entirely persuaded me to request this book so read along with me:

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.

Review

I was absolutely hooked from the beginning sentence all the way until the end (get it?).

Lost Boy shows a sinister side of Peter. Now, I do want to preface this and say that I have rarely watched Peter Pan. It never intrigued me as much as others, so I am not a die-hard Peter Pan fan. But back to Peter’s characterization, I thought it was phenomenal. Not only is Peter charismatic, but he manipulating, childish, and brilliant. Peter is such a mastermind, so while he has a possessiveness that I associate with immaturity, he has another side to him that is cunning and deceptive.

Peter’s Character

While I appreciated Peter’s character, and the depths of its complexity, I really enjoyed the character of Jamie, our protagonist. I think it’d be quite difficult to dislike him, because we find out straight from the prologue, that he finds himself ‘mis-villainized’. Where Peter is deceiving, Jamie is caring: especially for the boys whom Peter has chosen but have disappointed him. While Jamie is a skilled killer, there is a tenderness to his actions, as they revolve each other in a toxic friendship.

The Retelling

I think there is something universal about the story of Peter Pan, as we all long for a nostalgic past: a time we had no responsibilities and were free to pursue our whims. But we do all grow up, or most of us, and we have to accept the challenges and duties that come with it. But this story takes that narrative and further it, by transforming this story into one about a toxic relationship, an emotionally abusive one, in which there are secrets, lies, and intense emotions. While most friendships can involve secrets, betrayal, and even manipulation, Peter and Jamie’s dark dance, which is clear – even from the film – is one that transcends the ordinary.

Themes

There are some very real questions asked of us in this book, such as: what do we do when our leaders fail to lead? And how can we deal with friends who do not have our best interests in mind? Should we seek revenge? What does it mean to be grown up? How do we grow up? What happens when we lose faith in our role models? And finally, how do you make a hero or a villain?

Throughout this entire story, there was not only a vivid world, but a steady current of suspense, making this an absolutely addicting read. Each of the side characters were colorful and had their own hinted stories. In fact, some of my most emotional moments were their deaths. And here enters my only qualm: for the most part, the side characters, as emotional as they are, are more or less plot devices to fuel the story. You don’t really notice it until the end, but then when you’re reflecting on those you lost, you see that they all contributed to the plot.

In Conclusion,

Besides that, this story is psychological, gripping, and entertaining, painting a picture of Peter Pan before we came to know him in the film: the darker side of his history. The writing is fabulous, the plot incredibly compelling, and the characters entirely enthralling. It is a story about possession, growing up, and the fear of losing love. There are some who can deal with these eventualities of life, and others who become vindictive, spiteful, and jealous; all things that combine with brilliance to become dangerous.

You should pick up Lost Boy from Amazon(US), it comes out July 4th, add it to Goodreads, and Henry’s website.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read.

Discussion

What is your favorite retelling?

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