Lost Boys
I woke up several hours later, wondering how I’d been asleep at all when it was so incredibly cold. Then I realized I’d woken because the key was turning in the lock. I didn’t think it was possible to get colder, but a chill shook my already-frozen skin. The dim light coming through the high window shone on the door creeping open. Should I wake the others? I thought of the stories we’d heard of boys taken away and never seen again.It’s 1982, and twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country. War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it.Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to?

Lost Boys Details

TitleLost Boys
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 22nd, 2017
PublisherHenry Holt and Co. (BYR)
ISBN-139781627797580
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Historical, Historical Fiction, War, Fiction, Young Adult, Cultural, Iran

Lost Boys Review

  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineIran in 1982 was a difficult place to be. Reza loves Stevie Wonder music, but it is forbidden, and his mother is spouting her adherence to whatever the Ayatollah has decreed even though it cost Reza his father. Luckily, his uncle Habib understands, but he is active in the resistance and doesn't last long. Reza's best friend Ebi believes in supporting the cause, and Reza finally gives in to joining the army. Many of the boys (who are about 12) believe that i E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineIran in 1982 was a difficult place to be. Reza loves Stevie Wonder music, but it is forbidden, and his mother is spouting her adherence to whatever the Ayatollah has decreed even though it cost Reza his father. Luckily, his uncle Habib understands, but he is active in the resistance and doesn't last long. Reza's best friend Ebi believes in supporting the cause, and Reza finally gives in to joining the army. Many of the boys (who are about 12) believe that if they dies in support of the cause it will be an honorable death and they will go to heaven and be given virgins (which is a deeply disturbing thought if ever there was one-- this article was helpful in illuminating the myth behind it), but Reza quickly finds that the boys are all expendable. After being gravely injured, he is separated from Ebi but ends up in a decent prison camp where the boys are taught by Irish Aid worker, Miles. Miles is very supportive, and even lets Reza play his guitar. Eventually, Miles is asked to leave the country, and Reza realizes that he and the other boys are never going to get to go home. Even though Ebi shows up at the camp, Reza has to make some bold decisions about his future. Strengths: I thought this offered a good depiction of how even members of the same family can react differently to a sociopolitical environment. Reza feels his mother (whose father was a holy man) loves her god more than she loves him. Ebi's family is more progressive, and angry at his more conservative views. Reza just cannot think that his love of music is sinful, and while he loves his country, he doesn't like the divisions. This seemed very well researched, and offers a glimpse into a very interesting but treacherous time. Modern readers will draw many parallels between Iran in 1982 and current political situations. Weaknesses: This is not an #ownvoices book. This does not bother me, since I think writers should be able to research and write sympathetic books about other people, but some people will be bothered by this. What I really think: This is an essential purchase for all middle school libraries. The cover is great, and all manner of readers will be drawn to Reza's story of music, adventure, and personal journey.
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  • Supriya Kelkar
    January 1, 1970
    This was a gripping, powerful debut I could not put down.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Darcey Rosenblatt’s luminous MG novel, LOST BOYS, centers on 12-year-old Reza, a musically gifted Iranian boy who is expected to join the Iran-Iraq War. The problem is, Reza has zero interest in following in his deceased father’s footsteps, despite the urging of his devout mother and his best friend, Ebi. But then tragedy strike and Reza decides to enlist. What awaits Reza is not the “paradise” the mullah who recruited him promised, but a brutal foray into battle followed by an assignment to Cam Darcey Rosenblatt’s luminous MG novel, LOST BOYS, centers on 12-year-old Reza, a musically gifted Iranian boy who is expected to join the Iran-Iraq War. The problem is, Reza has zero interest in following in his deceased father’s footsteps, despite the urging of his devout mother and his best friend, Ebi. But then tragedy strike and Reza decides to enlist. What awaits Reza is not the “paradise” the mullah who recruited him promised, but a brutal foray into battle followed by an assignment to Camp Six, an Iraqi POW camp. Camp Six is supposed to be the “best” of all the iraqi prison camps, but the conditions are squalid and Reza encounters physical and emotional abuse, the majority of which is meted out by Abass, a particularly sadistic guard. Reza finds solace by befriending fellow inmates Salar, Omid, and Jaafer, and he soon forms a close bond with Miles, an Irish aid worker. All the while, Reza never stops searching for his BFF, Ebi—or gives up hope of finding him one day. A magnificent debut. Highly recommended.
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  • 5by5books
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital galley of this book for review - all opinions are my own.You know a book is going to be good when the first sentence is so vivid and surprising that you are instantly drawn into the story wanting more. Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt opening line packs a punch right to the heart: “It started the morning Mother said she’d be proud to have me die.” This one sentence sets the entire stage for this novel. Reza is a twelve-year-old boy living in Iran Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital galley of this book for review - all opinions are my own.You know a book is going to be good when the first sentence is so vivid and surprising that you are instantly drawn into the story wanting more. Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt opening line packs a punch right to the heart: “It started the morning Mother said she’d be proud to have me die.” This one sentence sets the entire stage for this novel. Reza is a twelve-year-old boy living in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. Young boys his age are expected to join the war and fight to return Iran back to greatness. Reza, however, would prefer to listen to his forbidden Stevie Wonder hits than join the war that took his father from him. Disappointed that her son won’t enlist, Reza’s mother continually urges him to fulfill his duty and enlist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, he finally decides to join the fight. Reza soon realizes the true reason for children soldiers and his life is forever changed. Based on real events in the 1980s, this powerful and eye-opening historical fiction novel brings to light what happened to a generation of Iranian boys who were used and manipulated to fight. The bonds of friendship, the emotional toll of heartbreak, and the resilience to survive are key themes expressed in this vivid and memorable story. Verdict: A timely and important story that needs to be heard.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow-oh-Wow. I love when an author can take me to a place I've never been, connect me to a character so unlike myself, and make me feel (and learn) so much. This is an amazing and heartbreaking story, based in a reality that no child should ever have to face. Beautifully written. Kept me up late reading, and I am very protective of my sleep. Not to be missed!! (Out Aug 2017; go ahead and pre-order!)
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  • E.A.T.
    January 1, 1970
    Reza is a twelve-year-old boy who is thrown into the Iraq/Iran war. This story held my heart the entire way through . . . as I watched Reza lose friends . . . as I watched Reza make new friends (and enemies) in the prisoner camp . . . as I watched his love and talent for music blossom and give him hope for his future . . . I loved the author's writing, the character's voices, as well as the setting. I was truly sad when the book ended and know this will be a story I reach for again and again (an Reza is a twelve-year-old boy who is thrown into the Iraq/Iran war. This story held my heart the entire way through . . . as I watched Reza lose friends . . . as I watched Reza make new friends (and enemies) in the prisoner camp . . . as I watched his love and talent for music blossom and give him hope for his future . . . I loved the author's writing, the character's voices, as well as the setting. I was truly sad when the book ended and know this will be a story I reach for again and again (and I don't often re-read books!) LOST BOYS is a magnificent middle-grade debut novel and I cannot wait for the rest of world to meet Reza!
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  • Jason Gallaher
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so eye-opening and beautiful as it details horrifying truths of the Iran-Iraq War. It still seems extremely timely in our current political climate. This is a must-read for those who enjoy historical fiction and for fans of "Persepolis."
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  • Sally
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I couldn't put it down. Action, suspense, and immersion in a very different moment in history, one most American kids don't know enough about. I greatly enjoyed Reza's story.
  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!Lost Boys is both a beautiful people of historical fiction. While this book is classified as middle grade fiction, it actually reads much older in some aspects of the story, but regardless of that it's a very heartbreaking and beautiful story about friendship in Iran during 1982. According to the author's note, parts of the story where based on an account by her neighbour who had been growing up in Iran.Reza is a wonderful protagonist who is both kind as Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!Lost Boys is both a beautiful people of historical fiction. While this book is classified as middle grade fiction, it actually reads much older in some aspects of the story, but regardless of that it's a very heartbreaking and beautiful story about friendship in Iran during 1982. According to the author's note, parts of the story where based on an account by her neighbour who had been growing up in Iran.Reza is a wonderful protagonist who is both kind as he is curious. You learn about Reza's love of Western music which he got from his Uncle. You learn his love of modern music and the kinds of songs that were present in the 1980s. In some regards this makes Reza seem a little older than he actually is, but I found him to constantly be endearing throughout the story. His friendship with Ebi and Miles are both unique aspects in the story as Ebi at the tender age of twelve believes young boys need to die for their nation, while Miles an Irish aid worker tries to instill a different perspective......And it works well in this story. In this story you see Reza feeling torn between the love of his family and country, but also struggling with his feelings towards the political environment in Iran. Characters like Ebi break your heart because they are the product of propaganda, the belief that every man must die for his nation. There's an idealism in this notion, but the story shows how many of the children are completely robbed of childhoods.Lost Boys is a very thoughtful read, and Rosenblatt is a beautiful writer. I appreciated much of the leg work that went into this novel, and if you haven't read the Author's Note it is worth checking out just to get some extra context to where the author was coming from with the story. This book will leave you sad yet very hopeful in the end.
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  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    There are some parts of this that are compelling (not least the cover that got me to pick this up), but I don't think I'd recommend it unless it was for a very specific request. The author's note talks about the research she conducted and her passion for the history that inspired her to write the story, and I believe that it's accurate for the most part. However, the overall impression the book leaves is of a war with "good" and "bad" Muslims, and I feel like that sort of simplifies and flattens There are some parts of this that are compelling (not least the cover that got me to pick this up), but I don't think I'd recommend it unless it was for a very specific request. The author's note talks about the research she conducted and her passion for the history that inspired her to write the story, and I believe that it's accurate for the most part. However, the overall impression the book leaves is of a war with "good" and "bad" Muslims, and I feel like that sort of simplifies and flattens all the complexities of the political and cultural time/situation the story is depicting. Particularly when the bad guys play into so many very specific stereotypes about Muslims. There's also an aid worker whose role really seemed to fall into white savior tropes. Which isn't to say that aid workers (who were probably often white) didn't play crucial roles in situations like Reza's, but I just don't know that this is the best or most authentic depiction of such a complex historical event. These reservations aren't enough for me to label this DO NOT RECOMMEND EVER or anything, but it's not one I'm interested in bringing on school visits.
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  • L.B. Schulman
    January 1, 1970
    To be transparent, Darcey is my friend and critique partner. That being said, I am totally honest when I say that this book is wonderful. I won't go over the plot, as so many before me have already done that. The characters come alive and make you feel deeply about their journey. I was privileged to see first-hand the author's thorough attention to detail. Extremely well-researched and tenderly drawn. This book took years, as Darcey insisted on relaying the truth. It shows in the beautiful writi To be transparent, Darcey is my friend and critique partner. That being said, I am totally honest when I say that this book is wonderful. I won't go over the plot, as so many before me have already done that. The characters come alive and make you feel deeply about their journey. I was privileged to see first-hand the author's thorough attention to detail. Extremely well-researched and tenderly drawn. This book took years, as Darcey insisted on relaying the truth. It shows in the beautiful writing and in the story itself, which captures your heart. Children will learn much about the Iran-Iraq war, and the storytelling is so gripping that my guess is that they will read it more than once.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    An important story that crosses borders and illuminates history. Get yourself a comfortable spot as you will want to dive into this heartbreaking and inspiring story, which reveals a time and place that many readers might not otherwise experience. Told in a straightforward and accessible voice, Lost Boys follows the tale of a young Iranian boy caught in the tragic war between Iran and Iraq. Themes of religious extremism and the senseless loss of youth through war are implicit but never hammered An important story that crosses borders and illuminates history. Get yourself a comfortable spot as you will want to dive into this heartbreaking and inspiring story, which reveals a time and place that many readers might not otherwise experience. Told in a straightforward and accessible voice, Lost Boys follows the tale of a young Iranian boy caught in the tragic war between Iran and Iraq. Themes of religious extremism and the senseless loss of youth through war are implicit but never hammered too hard. I felt shocked by some events in the story and engrossed for the whole read. Highly recommended for middle grade readers and classrooms.
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  • Alie Berka
    January 1, 1970
    Lost Boys is a powerful story of a boy's struggle with adolescence, friendship, and loyalty. It is beautifully written and well-researched. The story is based on historical events during the Iran/Iraq war and it is definitely a story that needs to be told. The protagonist, Reza, is an engaging character and Rosenblatt effectively portrays him in a sensitive and captivating way. She has captured the time and place and given us a gripping story that you won't want to put down. This is a must read Lost Boys is a powerful story of a boy's struggle with adolescence, friendship, and loyalty. It is beautifully written and well-researched. The story is based on historical events during the Iran/Iraq war and it is definitely a story that needs to be told. The protagonist, Reza, is an engaging character and Rosenblatt effectively portrays him in a sensitive and captivating way. She has captured the time and place and given us a gripping story that you won't want to put down. This is a must read - in fact I'm reading it again! I'm looking forward to more of Rosenblatt's work.
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  • Jonathan Rosen
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating story about an intriguing time period. The story really made me feel like I came away from it, knowing much more about the time period. You can't help but feel for what Reza goes through during his journey. I couldn't help but think of The Kite Runner, as I was reading, although, this was a powerful story in its own right. I highly recommend and look forward to more from this author.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes place in a time and location that are unfamiliar to many readers, even me. The author does a good job of bringing the location to life, and in helping the reader understand a different perspective. I do think the book is a bit neat, though I suppose if it weren't neat, it might not be MG appropriate.
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  • Lisa Day
    January 1, 1970
    A quick read, and one I hope to read to my eight year when he is a bit older. The book is an awful story and, while not a true one, is based on true events. I couldn't imagine being in Reza's shoes - fighting in a war he doesn't believe in and fighting for people who have taken away everything he loves including music. It makes me, again, very grateful to live in Canada.
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  • Anthonia
    January 1, 1970
    A truly gifted story that will have you turning the pages just see what happens. The characters are well developed and we see what issues, problems and fates that are in store in this story. A true marvel a must read for book lovers everywhere.
  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot wait to hand this book to my boys. A powerful story of courage, resilience, and friendship. A well-researched, triumphant debut.
  • Donna Weidner
    January 1, 1970
    LOST BOYS is a captivating tale of friendship, loss, hope, and triumph. Twelve-year-old Reza's story of being a boy soldier and prisoner during the 1980's Iran/Iraq war is riveting and heartfelt. It honours the strength of the human spirit and is a tribute to every child who has managed to survive the horrors of war, as well as to those who did not make it through alive. A magnificent debut novel with one word of caution (well, maybe three): keep tissues nearby.
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  • A.E. Conran
    January 1, 1970
    There's nothing I love more than books that throw a light on historical stories that I would otherwise never know. Lost Boys does this and far more. I had very little knowledge of the Iran/Iraq war and certainly knew nothing of the fate of the boy soldiers involved. Reza's story —chilling, sad and ultimately hopeful— is heartfelt and yet so pacy and suspenseful that I couldn't put it down. It's full of characters I love, Reza's uncle, his friend Ebi, and moments that I keep remembering even thou There's nothing I love more than books that throw a light on historical stories that I would otherwise never know. Lost Boys does this and far more. I had very little knowledge of the Iran/Iraq war and certainly knew nothing of the fate of the boy soldiers involved. Reza's story —chilling, sad and ultimately hopeful— is heartfelt and yet so pacy and suspenseful that I couldn't put it down. It's full of characters I love, Reza's uncle, his friend Ebi, and moments that I keep remembering even though I read the book 4 weeks ago. Definitely recommended.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I received the ARC from Edelweiss. This book is currently titled "Lost Boys" on that site.
  • Thomas Wright
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book to be a truly amazing story based on real events. The characters are vivid , the story is intriguing from the start, and its full of emotion. Highly recommend. A must read.
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