Lost Boy, Christina Henry Book Review

Hello humans! Some of you may know that (with the exception of Wendy’s ending) Peter Pan is one of my favourite stories. I also love retellings and the chance to explore villains in more detail. Enter Lost Boy a book which combines all of these things into one big amazing puddle of awesomeness.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

This book is dark. I mean you get dark retellings of things, and books are often advertised as dark but this comes so close to crossing that line of ‘maybe don’t market this at young adults’ because young me would have been a little freaked out by it. Then again I’m a massive coward so perhaps that’s just me.

Christina Henry writes a first person narrator phenomenally well. It would have been tragic if this hadn’t been written well. Because if you’re writing a villain’s origin story with the young villain as your main character you not only have to write a likeable main character but you have to write a character who could believably carry out the various atrocities the villain does in the actual book. Jamie is somehow likeable and also still corrupted by Peter Pan and his island.

There’s some kind of Lord of the Flies influence here as well, the idea of the terrible things people can do when either under the authority of someone who tells them there is no authority. I liked the way the book manages to turn on a dime from ‘isn’t this all fun and games’ to ‘lives are at stake this is quite horrifying when you think about it.’ It’s unsettling and evocative and it made me so morbidly happy.

One of the things I appreciated was that Christina Henry didn’t write this book in the typical voice that Peter Pan retellings are written in. Often they come across very saccharine, even when they are trying to be dark and brooding  – I’m looking at you Peter Pan in Scarlett. In contrast Christina Henry sticks to her own tone and the voice she has created for this very lost boy.

I enjoyed this book a lot, it’s a quick, punchy read with a lot of heart at its core. It certainly did it’s job of painting the well-known Peter Pan story in a new light, it’s so much sadder with this backstory in mind. If you like retellings, Peter Pan and dark storylines then I recommend giving this a go!

My rating: 4/5 stars

What say you? Do you like Peter Pan? Any other good retellings I should be on the lookout for?

J

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