by Christina Henry
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.
I love a good retelling of a classic (especially if a Disney version exists), and even more so if the retelling is a darker version of the original. Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry absolutely delivered. It’s a fun, fast-paced read with a dash of magic and a heaping serving of violence, what more could you want?
Henry has masterfully adapted the Peter Pan story and turned it on its head. Jamie (the boy who would be Hook), is a wonderful character that I was able to relate to and deeply sympathize with. He is brave, complex, and caring in a way that fleshes keeps you rooting for him, and is flawed in a highly believable way. I found myself repeatedly wondering about the conclusion, which is extremely impressive given that Lost Boy is essentially a prequel. Henry managed to slip in some really surprising moments that caught me off guard.
My favorite part of this novel is what Henry has done to the Peter Pan character. It’s not easy to turn a tiny, flying, ginger child into something you’d have nightmares about. Henry not only succeeds, but does so while keeping the character believable as the Peter Pan we all know and love(d). Peter completely lacks empathy in a way that initially passes as the lack of emotional intelligence found in young children. In reality, he is a textbook sociopath, manipulating and tormenting his victims on a deep psychological level. Throughout the novel I grew to hate Peter in a way I have hated very few characters in the past. His innocuous appearance and childlike way of communicating make him all the more threatening and enraging. I’d put a bomb in his tree too.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, engaging, and moderately gory read.