"Once I was young, and young forever and always, until I wasn't.
Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan."
Christina Henry is a master of un-Disneying the classic fairy tale. Gone are peppy song-and-dance numbers and happily-ever-afters in favour of brutally human characters and dystopian landscapes.
In Lost Boy we view the dark and twisted world through the eyes of a boy with just a glimmer of hope and morality. This is the story of the first Lost Boy, Jamie, and his tumultuous relationship with the charismatic, psychopathic Peter.
We discover a Neverland inhabited by wild boys and brutal landscapes. The world is harsh, and the boys just as unforgiving; they had been lured here, and all is not as they had been promised. Immortality does not mean invulnerable, as we are quick to discover. Mermaids, pirates, disease and Battles are real threats, and while Jamie tries to protect them as well as he can, Peter is set on having his 'fun'.
The story is completely engaging, in part because the world stays just close enough to what we know to throw us occasional Easter Eggs, but mostly because we see the world through Jamie's eyes, and witness him grow, struggle, resist, and emerge into adulthood. His curiosity, wisdom and integrity make us root for him, even when we slowly realise that we already know what he is going to become.
This is a unique coming-of-age story set in a world where growing up is supposed to be impossible.