The Lost Boy
FORMAT: Graphic Novel
AGES: Middle School, High School
Reviewed from a galley
Publication Date: September 2013
Nate and his family just moved to a new town. But strange things are happening in this town. For one there are black birds that watch Nate as he moves into his new house. Then there is the way the neighbor girl reacts when he meets her. And there are some reel to reel tapes that are hidden in his new room. As he starts to listen to the tapes, he and Tabitha (the neighbor girl) realize that things around this town are even more crazy then they thought possible. There are animals–Woodlanders–who go around dressed in clothes. And then there is a boy who looks like a rather large doll that can talk. As Nate tries to make sense of what is going on, he realizes that he must venture into the woods where few (if any) have come back in order to save a place he has just started to call home from a dark evil that he doesn’t even understand.
This graphic novel is great. First of all the illustrations are amazing. What with darkening the outer bits of the pages (for when they are listening to a tape recording) to having everything on a grey-scale (for when one is remembering the past or telling Nate about something that happened in the past) and having a the normal white pages with no light-grey (for the “present” day Nate and Tabitha story) there is no confusion as to what happened when. Plus, the story has just enough complexity and foreshadowing (look at the panel that takes up all of page 2 after you have read the whole book and you will understand what I had forgotten once I was into the book, yet totally got when I had to go and look at the book again) to keep the reader wondering–and dreading and hoping–for what is coming next. And the use of how the panels were thought out was great. It wasn’t all the same amount of panels on each page. It all varied based on the pacing and importance of the story–which is just as it should be. With all the branches and animals dressed in clothes (also riding other animals) there is quite a bit that is strange happening in the book. And some parts I got a bit confussed about. For example, there are the twigs and whatnot that Haloran uses and then there are the branches from the Vespertine and Tom Button have for body parts (the Vespertine being bad and Tom being good). Plus there are good animals who wear clothes and bad animals who wear clothes. Basically, the fact that there is so much that is happening would make it hard to understand without the clues that can only be seen and not just read in text. This is the type of graphic novel to give to adventure or fantasy lovers who aren’t just wanting a simple plot to keep their mind occupied. This is for a serious reader who will work a little for the wealth of a good story.
Book Discussion Questions:
Why Nate? Why was everyone watching him when he just moved into the neighborhood?
Why did Tabitha have so much information? Why didn’t Haloran talk to her long before Nate came?
Who was the Vespertine? Why was he so dangerous? What did he do?
What did Haloran mean about being the Vespertine’s father? How did that change the Vespertine?
What do you think will happen next?
How will Tabitha and Nate continue to keep the key safe? Why does it matter if the Vespertine isn’t a threat?