2022 Reading Review: Lost Boy

Y’all ever just read a book and think, Where has this been all my life? That’s sort of how I felt reading Lost Boy by Christina Henry.

While I think retellings and reimaginings of stories and books can be fantastic, I don’t often pick them up. But March was my month to pick my two-person book club book, and I knew both of us were Peter Pan fans, so this seemed like it might be an interesting choice.

Lost Boy is a reimagining of the Peter Pan story, told from the POV of one of the lost boys. It’s dark, it’s violent, and it paints this child’s story in a way you couldn’t imagine.

Spoilers ahead, but as always, I’ll try to keep them reserved for the Opinions section.

Story

As stated up top, Lost Boy is a retelling of the Peter Pan story, told from the POV of a lost boy. Specifically, one we know as Jamie. Jamie is not just a lost boy; he’s the first lost boy. He’s Peter’s first chosen one and acts as Peter’s righthand man. But he’s also come to be the caretaker of all the lost boys that come to the island, as Peter often doesn’t act as a caregiver himself.

I did say all the lost boys. As it’s not just the few that we’ve come to know from the book and films. Peter brings many boys to Neverland, but not all of them survive. Which is why more keep coming: Peter always replaces them.

From the start of this book, we see Jamie’s irritation at this. He’s been in Neverland for many years and seen many boys come and fall, only to be replaced. He silently questions loyalty to Peter, as we see more that Peter might not be the hero we’ve believed him to be.

Characters

Our main character is, of course, Jamie, as the whole story is told from his point of view. Jamie is the most responsible lost boy, and also the strongest. It’s mentioned several times how many pirates he’s beaten and how he never loses when all the boys play Battle.

Yet despite being the strongest fighter, he’s also the most caring. Jamie watches out for the lost boys, tries to keep them from harm and death the best he can, but also genuinely cares for them. This is contrasted to Peter, who believes everything is just a game, including life and death. When lost boys die, Peter takes no responsibility and simply goes to find new boys to replace them.

We see this attitude is draining on Jamie from the very start of the book, and it’s something that he battles with as the story goes on. He’s a great character, as we really get to see him grow and evolve.

Obviously, Peter himself is a character, though he’s not seen as frequently. In addition, there are many lost boys running, some of whom we get to know and love, and others who die before we really get to know them. Such are the perils of Neverland.

Writing

I fell into Henry’s writing and prose. Honestly, this book was one that was never a chore to read, and I occasionally I would forget I was reading. That’s how much I enjoyed both the story and the actual writing.

It’s a good blend of creative writing and descriptions, along with simplicity. It’s easy to imagine the world she’s built even with all the intricate details. But there were some scenes that were written in such a way that it felt deeper.

Overall, I’d say it’s a fairly easy read and falling into the world is even easier.

Will You Like This?

Do you like retellings? And are you looking for one that follows the infamous boy who can never grow up?
More than that, can you handle a darker retelling? One with its fair share of violence and gore? And perhaps where you realize that the hero might not be as good as you thought?

Then come and join me in my adoration of this book! Seriously, get on this bandwagon. I want more people on it!

Opinion (Spoilers)

I mean… I’ve not been subtle in this review. I LOVED this book. From the opening chapter down to the last sentence.

I love the story of Peter Pan, and I don’t mind a story that paints him out to be a villain. And I thought this book really did that well. I wasn’t sure how they were going to paint Peter—the lovable boy, who I know I used to hope would greet me at my window and take me to Neverland—into the bad guy.

Oh, but Christina Henry certainly did that well. She did it in such a way that it fit in with the Peter Pan story. She didn’t have to rewrite the original Peter Pan story to make him a horror villain, and that made the story that much better.

And I certainly won’t be daydreaming about being stolen away to Neverland any time soon.

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