Publication date: May 1, 2014
Kindle ARC, 344 pages
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Retelling
Northern was supposed to be a fresh start—a place where people didn’t know who I was or how I had spent years in and out of mental institutes. People didn’t know about my parents death or the island no one heard of. But when Peter sits next to me in lit class, I can’t stop the memories, and I don’t want to. He looks too much like the boy from the island, and despite my best intentions, coaxes my secrets from me.
He’s gorgeous, irresistible, a little mad, and completely lost—we are a pair of broken cogs in a world neither of us truly fits into. He is somehow gentle and fierce, heartbreaking in his devotion and savage in his defense.
When Belle, his best friend, shows up, pale and lovely and sick, Peter pulls away from me, a startling withdrawal. It’s a relationship that scares and confuses me. She is at times warm and friendly, and other times is violent and unpredictable.
Peter says that he wants me, but refuses to let himself get close. And there are secrets, surrounding both of us, that border on nightmares. As the memories close in, as Belle gets sicker and more violent, I’m torn between what is true and what I believe, and what this magical boy knows about my mysterious past.
Before I start this review, I have to admit something – it’s been a LONG TIME since I watched Peter Pan, so I’m sure some of the nuances of the book were lost on me. There are several Peter Pan retellings out there currently and I failed miserably with the first (Tiger Lily) because I couldn’t remember enough about the original story. That wasn’t a problem with Girl Lost at all. This book could easily stand on its own. I bought the movie and plan to watch it… soon… ish… Who knows? Maybe I’ll find even more to love the second time around.
Girl Lost is the story of Gwen (Gwendy, Gwendolyn, pixie…). After the horrific death of her parents, she spent quite a bit of time in a mental institution. Now she’s healed, mostly anyhow, and on her way to college. With the help of her brother and psychiatrist, she’s determined to forget The Boy who never existed from a place she never was and be a normal college student. She has an interesting roommate who will turn out to be a good friend and she’s looking forward to blending in. Until, of course, a gorgeous red-headed stranger who reminds her so, so much of The Boy sits next to her in class and tries to befriend her. He pushes him away and tries to go out with someone else, but he’s too insistent and she’s too attracted to him. As they spend more time together, Gwen begins to wonder if he is, in fact The Boy, and if the island was real. Mysterious and compelling with a sexy edge, Girl Lost sucked me in and held me hostage until the final page.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love a good retelling and Girl Lost presented that with a contemporary new adult theme. It was ambitious and unique and very well-executed. Initially, the ending left me scrambling a bit and really makes me hope for more of the story of Gwen, Peter and the others. Upon further reflection, while I still want more about these characters because I’m a greedy reader, I’m actually pleased with the ending. Is it open to interpretation and does it leave some ends loose? Yes. If there are no more books, am I content drawing my own conclusions? Yes. Incredibly well-done all the way around. Nazarea is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.