Friday, December 15, 2017

YA Classic Retelling: Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

Guest Review by Oscar Porras, Library Media Specialist, Ysleta Middle School in El Paso, Texas.
Follow Oscar on Twitter @oporras_LMS

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
by Christina Henry
Berkley
2017
304 pages
ISBN:  9780399584022 

From the beloved story from childhood, readers have learned that there is a fierce rivalry between Peter Pan and Hook; however, the author never expounded on how this rivalry began. One story is that Hook was once a Lost Boy who  ran away when he realized that he was too old to be a part of the group. Another story goes that Hook was always a pirate and always Peter's nemesis (think Batman vs. The Joker).

Christina Henry's YA novel is a unique twist on the relationship between the two. Jamie, aka future Captain Hook, is the first boy Peter chooses to join him in Neverland for adventures. They will stay young and be irresponsible forever. This new world holds terrible secrets: there are pirates and beasts of many kinds. Through Jamie's eyes, the reader realizes that the title Lost Boy carries a terrible price. Jamie  has had to bury his fellow Lost Boys when they have died or when they've gone to battle with pirates on the island. Jamie's aging has also started to weigh heavily on him. Although he doesn't physically age, the years are catching up to him. Peter Pan, on the other hand, stays young and reckless often sending his Lost Boys on dangerous adventures without regard for their safety and they are lost on the island.

The book's trajectory follows the path of a falling out between the two boys. Hook realizes that Pan is anything but his best friend and the Lost Boys are mere playthings for Peter discarded in the name of fun. The traditional story features Peter as a jovial child playing tricks on friends and flying children to Neverland to have epic adventures. Henry's Peter is much darker. He is a sociopath with no regard for human life and wholly predictable. This line encompasses the book, "This isn't a wonderful place for boys to play and have adventures and stay young for always. It's a killing place, and we're all just soldiers in Peter's war."

Recommended grade 9 and up. Violence and gore.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I (Pamela Thompson) received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review nor did reviewer Oscar Porras.

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