Author: Darcey Rosenblatt
Published: August 22, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 14-23, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
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 is based off the real-life Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The specific year is 1982 and Reza is 12 years old and Iran sends their young boys off to war. If they die, then they will be considered a martyr and Reza’s mother is more than happy to see him off. Reza is conflicted to go but his best friend Ebi is very excited. In Iran they have no freedoms, they can’t even sing or let alone listen to music without punishment.
Reza finds out the grim reality of war and finds himself separated from Ebi and in a POW camp. The boys there are treated in a range of ways from friendly with a teacher whom Reza bonds with over their love of music to being treated terribly by some of the guards.
I liked Reza and was rooting for him the whole novel. I was hoping that he and Ebi would be reunited. Lost Boys gives you an idea of what life was like in an Iraq POW camp without being graphic. I enjoyed this quick and easy read as I saw Reza’s growth over his time at the camp, but the end of the novel left too many unanswered questions. The novel needed at least an epilogue or a follow up novel for the reader to get the whole story: When you become invested in characters, you need the whole story!
Despite the lack of conclusion, I would recommend the novel as it gives a US reader an experience of unfamiliar events at a time in the past with an unfamiliar country. And that has been the point of #Diverseathon2021: Diversifiying your reading this year by reading books with a certain type of character or places you might not normally read. And I would not have normally read Lost Boys.
**I am having a giveaway: A $20 e-gift card to the bookstore of your choice. All you have to do is read a book set in Iran and share what you thought about it on social media. **Be sure to tag me in some way so I see it!** Previous Diverseathon hosts are welcome to join in on this giveaway. This giveaway will last for the entire month of November with the winner being announced on my Instagram on December 1st: If you read fast then you still have time to get a book read and reviewed!