Lost Boy isn’t your childhood Peter Pan

32828538On the worst night of Jamie’s young life, he leaves behind a devastating loss and follows a strange, mysterious boy into a tunnel under a tree and arrives in a magical, strange land where boys never grow up. Jamie and Peter spend their days having great adventures, fighting pirates, and swimming with mermaids. Everything from Jamie’s world before Peter and his island is forgotten, except for the nightmare that haunts him every night and the song he sings but doesn’t remember how he knows it. Despite those things, it’s a glorious, wonderful life and eventually other boys are brought to the island to share in eternal boyhood.

Except it isn’t eternal and as the decades pass and more boys die at the hands of pirates, crocodiles, and the Many-Eyed, Jamie begins to realize that living on the island with Peter is far from paradise, and Peter isn’t at all the wonderful boy Jamie thought he was.

Christina Henry takes a classic child’s tale of magic and enchantment and turns it into a horror story full of blood, gore, murder, and deception. Lost Boy is Peter Pan, a dark and twisted Peter Pan, from the point of view of a young Captain Hook.

Henry’s take on Neverland and its inhabitants is sinister and far more violent than J.M. Barrie’s original tale ever was. There is bloodshed galore, and Peter Pan isn’t the innocent, fun-seeking boy that we readers grew up with. In Henry’s Neverland, he is a cunning, deceptive, manipulative narcissist who values himself above all others. As Jamie tells us from the very beginning, “Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. But I told you already. Peter lies. This is what really happened.”

Meet the boy who will grow up to be Captain James Hook and immerse yourself in the loss, grief, and betrayal that drove him to a life of piracy and vengeance. Delightful in its uniqueness and gripping in its mystery and violence, Lost Boy is a thrilling tale that can’t be reconciled with the Peter Pan of childhood. Henry’s Neverland is a whole new world where nothing is as it seems, and boys can become men when they trade belief for truth.

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Second Star puts quite a spin on the Peter Pan we grew up with

After second starreading this book in a single afternoon (just couldn’t put I down), I feel like I have been tossed off my surfboard while riding a maverick, pinned to the bottom of the ocean, pummeled by thousands of gallons of seawater and eventually spit out soaking wet and exhausted on the sandy shore.

I really hate to put spoilers in my reviews. I do my best to avoid them, but I am not quite sure how to talk about this book without including spoilers. I’ll try my best….

So, Second Star is a modern spin on the tale of Peter Pan with a love triangle between Peter, Wendy, and Captain Hook where Wendy is desperately trying to find her missing brothers. In the beginning, I found myself asking just how serious Wendy is about finding her brothers because she certainly gets distracted easily. First, there’s guy #1, then there’s learning to surf, then there’s her adopted family, then there’s guy #2. Focus, Wendy, focus. And that led me to think, maybe Kensington is supposed to be like Neverland where if you stay long enough you eventually forget what and who really matters to you. Except that didn’t quite hold up because despite getting sidetracked, she did remember her search for her missing brothers.

Next, I started to question the validity of the narrator. Was Wendy being honest or was she just taking us readers on a ride on her surfboard? She tells us her brothers have been missing for nine months and are believed to be dead by everyone except her. She thinks they’ve run away to chase big waves. But seriously, who would do that to their family? Who would disappear for all that time and leave their parents and sister in anguish and uncertainty? I just couldn’t buy that.

And then there’s Pete and Jas or Peter and Captain Hook, if you will. In Peter Pan stories, whether it be the book or the numerous movie versions, I always found myself rooting for Peter but detesting Hook. However, in Sheinmel’s retelling, I found myself liking Jas (which considering the things he is guilty of really makes me question my taste in fictional guys) and distrusting Pete. There was just something about Pete that I didn’t care for. I felt like he was always lying by omission. And considering that both these guys can be partially blamed for the disappearance of her brothers, I really questioned Wendy’s judgment, which again made me question the narrator since the story is told from her point of view. (If you’ve read my blog before, you know I have issues with dishonest narrators).

In the end, when the story wrapped up, I did like it. Some of my questions were answered, some weren’t, but overall I enjoyed the story and the characters. When you can’t put a book down then the author is doing something right. And that is all I can say without unleashing spoilers, but I will say this: There was a point near the end where I exclaimed, “Oh, this is just like that episode of Buffy!” and if you were a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and if you read this book, you’ll know exactly which episode I mean. And that’s the only hint you’re getting out of me.

Release Date: May 13, 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux Publishing