Book Review: Lost Boy by Christina Henry

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth.

Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan. 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. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He’ll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. Peter Lies.

What I Thought:
I find retellings fascinating, and I think it’s a real talent to be able to take a previously published work and make it something completely new.

A while ago now, I was pleased to host a piece by Christina Henry, looking at how she took J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and moulded it into her novel, Lost Boy, a novel that gives entirely new meaning to Peter Pan. It takes Peter, the hero of the original novel, and shows that he is not all that he seems and reveals exactly why Captain Hook and Peter hate each other.

The narrator of the novel is Jamie – he was the first of the Lost Boys that Peter brought from ‘the other place’ to a much darker Neverland than you will have previously read and, as more boys are brought into the gang, Peter continues to do whatever he feels, while Jamie starts to become the parent figure of the group, taking care of the smaller boys and reining Peter in where necessary. This Neverland is very much more like Lord of the Flies, with Peter suggesting games that are played to the death and raiding the pirates resulting in death all round – that’s when Peter flies off to find new boys…

As I’ve said, the Neverland in Lost Boy is dark, and not the playground it is depicted as in the original novel. It’s a place where young children are drawn into very adult games, with adult consequences and led by Peter who seemingly can never die, and must always be right so nothing touches him emotionally – unlike Jamie who feels the death of the boys in his care and begins to realise that someday everyone has to grow up.

I loved this book as Jamie’s voice is so strong and yet so sad. His transformation from worshipping Peter, to realising that his way is not necessarily the right way is done so gradually and still, even when he fully embraces the fact that Peter only cares about himself, it’s done with such sadness and regret. When we eventually discover Jamie’s fate it’s a lightbulb moment and it turns the original novel completely on its head – it’s very, very clever…

Lost Boy is most definitely highly recommended and, having read more of Christina Henry’s books since, I love her writing style and the unique voice she gives to her characters. I’ve recently read her latest book, The Mermaid, and I’ll be reviewing that very soon…

Lost Boy is published by Titan Books. To find out more about Christina Henry and her other novels, do check out her website, or you can connect with her on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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