It feels like forever since I last wrote a book review, the gallop up to Christmas seemed all-consuming and so much fell by the wayside. But I’ve just finished the most amazing Young Adult fantasy, Lost Boy by Christina Henry, and it’s far too brilliant to keep to myself.
“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 will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I was never his friend. Peter lies.”
There can’t be many people who haven’t heard the story of Peter Pan? Whether you read the original book by J M Barrie, watched the 1953 Disney cartoon, or you’ve seen any of the various film adaptations over the years, the tale of the boy who never grew up is a classic.
Well, this book takes that classic and turns it around so we see Peter Pan from the Lost Boys’ perspective. The narrator is the first Boy that Peter brought to Neverland and this is the story of their relationship from Jamie’s point of view. This Peter is spoilt, capricious, mercurial, and cruel. The carefree Disney sprite is nowhere to be seen.
That said, there are times when Jamie isn’t particularly heroic either. His trademark punishment meted out to pirates is vicious, and his solution for the Many Eyed, while effective, is brutal. But his relationships with Charlie, Nod and Sally are beautifully written, and I found myself in tears at one point towards the end on the beach.
As I read this book, I was reminded of that other boys on an island classic, The Lord of the Flies by William Faulkner. I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers here but in truth, there are a lot of parallels: friendships, rivalries, betrayals, battles, deaths. And Lost Boy gave me the chills at times too.
Slips in at the very end of the penultimate chapter. Although it wasn’t a complete surprise, it was so cleverly done and it stunned me, a real oh… wow… moment.
Why I’d recommend it
This book isn’t like anything I’ve read before. It’s not a long book (318 pages in paperback) and I just couldn’t put it down. There were parts I found quite hard to read due to the subject matter, but they’re not gratuitous, and I admire Christina Henry for not glossing over them. I’ve never been a particular fan of Peter and this book certainly hasn’t changed my mind. But it’s such a fresh twist on a story that I thought I knew and I love that the author has made me look at things in a new light. So much so that I’ve already bought her Alice and Red Queen books as well – and I don’t think I can write a higher recommendation than that.
Have you read Lost Boy or any of the author’s other books? What did you think? Or, if you haven’t, are you tempted to now?
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