Lost Boy Found Boy by Jenn Polish: 8/10 Stars

 

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In a futuristic world, Neverland is a holomatrix, Hook is a cyborg, and Tinker Bell is an automated computer interface.

Peter is desperate to save his lover from a military draft that, unbeknownst to him, Mir volunteered for because they are desperate to be able to fly. So, naturally, Peter programs an entire island—Neverland—as a refuge where Mir can fly without having to fight in a war.

But he doesn’t locate Mir right away; instead, he fights for control of the island with automated interface Tinker Bell, and in his attempts to find Mir, others arrive on the island. But Peter’s single-minded focus on Mir generates repercussions for everyone.

 

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Overall Rating: 8/10 stars

Matt’s Review: 5/5 Stars

This book gets all the hearts. All of them.

I have a love hate relationship with retellings. I love them in theory, but finding a good one is vanishingly rare. This? This is beyond good.

This is a futuristic sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan, and by god does it bring a new stance to the table. Not only is the plot different, so you’re not yawning and waiting for what you know full well happens next, but the author knows exactly which elements to keep and which to change.

Peter is still selfish and arrogant. And I feel he needs to remain like that for any such retelling to work. But the arrogance and selfishness have a far better grounding and reason that lets you kind of roll with it and forgive him to a degree. Who isn’t selfish when it comes to love? And he does realise what he’s done isn’t necessarily what he should have done, so there’s not the usual excuse making that plagues romances the world over.

By contrast, Gwen (Wendy) has an almost completely different character, and it works beautifully. She fits into the world that has been created by the author so much better than a carbon copy of the original, and is a much better driver of the emotional development of the characters than her frankly wet predecessor.

The rep is also my absolute favourite kind: incidental. Peter is a trans boy, obviously but not explicitly stated. Mir is non-binary, and there’s only one clue as to their assigned sex at birth. There are early hints of some prejudices they’ve faced previously, and then that’s all. They crack on having their story told without further issue or even mention of it. And yet at the same time, the author plainly doesn’t forget as too many can. There is a late-game reminder of the existence of a binder. The word enbyfriend pops up once at the 75% mark. And there is no straying off into the grim comparison territory that is often made in sci-fi, between trans people and cyborgs or robots. The rep in this was so effortless, so real, so casually perfect, that I would encourage anyone writing trans characters to pick it up, even if the story isn’t your thing.

And you know what, Peter Pan isn’t my thing. I’m neutral towards the original tale, I don’t much like the film versions, and the last retelling I read was kinda icky. But this one?

This is a definitive retelling. I don’t there’ll be another that does it better. Five stars, without a doubt.

Laura’s Review: 3/5 Stars

I really liked this, and almost breathed it in. However, I think it would have definitely benefited from being a longer work.
The idea was super interesting! A sci fi retelling of Peter Pan with Peter programming Neverland to save his lover? Sign me up! But I felt like I was missing parts of the story. I couldn’t help but wonder what they were all doing there, what the war they were fighting was, or who was it that was keeping them there to use them in the fight. I had so many questions!
I liked Peter, and I could understand his need to save Mir. I think the author did an amazing job portraying that. But apart from that, I didn’t really get to know any of the characters. Which is a pity, because I think they were all pretty interesting and I wanted to know more about them.
I really loved how the characters’ gender identity had no big impact in the story. It was just who they were. It was them, and there were no explanations given or needed.
So to recap, I think this was a really interesting idea that could have done with a bit more development. Still, I would recommend it to sci fi lovers and those interested in fairy tales retellings.
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