Lost Boy — Christina Henry (ARC Review)

July 3, 2017

First of all, this book upset me in a way that most books are never capable of doing. I know a lot of reviewers who will immediately up their rating for a book if it hits them hard, because they consider it a sign of a talented author, and while I can understand that point of view, I don’t agree with it for my own reviews. I DNF’d this at 60% but my general rule of thumb is that panning a book at 30%-onward warrants a review.

Lost Boy has an interesting premise (the origins story of Captain Hook), and Christina’s writing style itself is very lovely and captivating.

First of all, let me preface this by saying that, if this book were being marketed solely as an adult fantasy novel, my problems with it wouldn’t be so easy to justify, and I’d probably just throw it on the DNF shelf, type up a few quick lines for NetGalley, and leave it alone. That said, while I love macabre retellings and the excerpts of Christina’s Alice retellings delighted me entirely, this was too much for me, and I can’t personally fathom marketing this to the younger end of the YA crowd. The majority of the marketing I’ve seen has been pushing this towards the YA spectrum, which doesn’t affect my rating, but did make me feel like it was worth reviewing to give potential readers a heads up.

The book starts off right from the beginning with nonstop death and violence regarding young boys, but what really bothered me the most was the wicked vendetta that Peter and some of the other boys had against Charlie, a 5-year-old the group had recently added to the crew. (*SPOILER* they stole him from his loving family, rather than “saving” him from an abusive household or orphanage *END SPOILER*) While I can appreciate the thought process that writing this horrifically dreadful narrative about how terrified Jamie (Hook) is for Charlie’s life may just be another creepy horror subplot, I felt like Christina took it way too far.

I will absolutely still read Christina’s Alice retellings and give her other work a chance, and if you aren’t bothered by child abuse, child death, children murdering other children, etc., then have at it. I personally couldn’t stomach it and would probably not ever be willing to finish this title in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and the kind people at Berkley Books for providing me with an ARC. All thoughts in this review are my own honest opinions.

More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

      1. Dude it was awful! Like I KNOW I am a little bit sensitive with that kind of thing because I have a little boy but OMG. I was reading it at like 3am before going to bed and was legitimately feeling so panicky because it just made me sick to even think about how many psychos there are in the world that actually DO get off on harming children and just, ugh, I couldn’t read anymore of it. I wasn’t even going to review it but then I thought, well if someone else had felt how I felt about it and shared their review and I’d seen it, I wouldn’t have read it and then wouldn’t have been up all night with anxiety issues and being sad, so if my review can stop someone else from having the experience I had, then it’s worth it right? 🙁

        1. No, I get it!! I’ve been trying to get better about mentioning triggers in reviews just so people don’t pick up books off my reviews that they can’t handle reading. I know I’m not perfect, but I definitely think it’s good to try and mention those things

          1. Ugh yes! It can be so hard to remember because tbh sometimes there is an aspect of a book that I just completely forget about when writing a review. Like I reread Just Listen this past week and I hadn’t reread it in a couple years and legit forgot how triggering a specific scene in it was and I CRINGED bc it isn’t problematic buuut I have rec’d that book to people who I wish I’d thought to warn about that scene. I guess all we can do is try our best and know how to apologize when we mess up >_<

    1. Just a warning… I wouldn’t read her Alice series either. It’s marketed as adult fantasy/horror. So you know going into it that its gonna be grotesque. I’m so sorry they changed marketing strategies for this one. Seems kinda stupid. Maybe it didn’t get enough notice in the adult horror genre. But that’s probably where it should stay.

      1. Thank you, I didn’t know the Alice books were marketed as adult horror! That’s pretty interesting actually. I actually LOVE adult horror typically, and don’t mind grotesque things at all, so I’m actually pretty excited to read her Alice books – but that’s only because from what I’m told, those don’t center around just senselessly killing a bunch of children. It wasn’t the violence that bothered me so much as it was the fact that it was against little boys. 🙁 I think I just took it to heart too much since I have a little boy of my own. I definitely think you’re right about the marketing, though – people in the YA market LOVE retellings, so it probably sells better there.

    1. Eeek this does sound really tough. I’m actually quite annoyed with how many adult books are marketed as YA these days? I think it’s a marketing ploy to sell more books, but it’s really frustrating. Obviously teens can read whatever they want, but you don’t want young 12 to 15 year olds picking up a book and having no idea the levels of dark/violent/abuse they might have in them though.?

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