A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers.
Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers.
Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas.
Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete.
A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
Three and a half stars: A gorgeously written, clever reinvention of a classic tale with a confusing ending.
Tonight is graduation night for Wendy Darling and her friends, but Wendy feels numb and detached instead of joyful. It has been months since her two twin brothers, John and Michael, disappeared while surfing. The only things recovered were their two broken surfboards. Wendy does not believe they are dead, she is convinced they are out there still trying to catch the next big wave, and she is determined to find them. The next day while searching, Wendy discovers a hidden beach and a group of ragtag surfers living there. Before long, Wendy is drawn into Pete's gang and learning to surf. Will she find her brothers?
What I Liked:
- For those of you who love retellings, but like originality, Second Star certainly delivers with its unique revision of the beloved classic. If you don't know going in that this is a Peter Pan retelling, you likely won't even realize it, but knowing that it is makes it all the more fun. I enjoyed seeing how the author wove in the pieces of the classic into her modern day story. For instance, Pete is Peter Pan. He is a carefree surfer squatting in abandoned cliffside beach homes. He lives to catch the next big wave. His ragtag band of surfers is made up of runaway boys, and of course, there is Belle, the strong surfer girl who has a thing for Pete. Jas is the Captain Hook character. He is also a surfer and the dark to Pete's light. Jas sells a drug called fairy dust, getting surfers 'hooked' on it in order to earn money for surfing expenses. The Jolly Roger is a seedy bar. Flying in this story is the experience of flying across the waves while surfing. I liked that the author kept everything in the real world.
- For me what really stood out with this book was the writing. I am a sucker for gorgeous writing, and this book is drenched with lovely similes and metaphors and lyrical prose. I was immediately drawn in by the writing.
- This was a book that constantly kept me on my toes trying to determine what was going on. At first, it reads relatively straightforward, but then somewhere around the midpoint, things start shifting and taking on a rather dreamlike quality. At this point, I questioned whether Wendy was a reliable narrator. By the end, I was still uncertain as to what really went on. This is one of those books that grabs its claws into you and lingers for a few days as you try and puzzle out what the author meant.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the California surf scene. The author does a magnificent job of pulling the reader into the surfing world. Her descriptions of surfing are wonderful, and I could totally see how one could feel like they were flying down the waves. I loved the gorgeous, sun drenched beaches, sparkling waves and all things pertaining to surfing. Who knew Peter Pan could be a surfer?
And The Not So Much:
- The biggest thing holding this book back is the open ending. For the first portion of the book, the author keeps the Peter Pan story firmly planted in the modern day world with hints of possible magic. Then things start to unravel, and by the end the reader is wondering whether Wendy had some type of breakdown, or was it real? Were Pete, Belle, Jas and the rest figments of her imagination? Ghosts? Who were they? I was convinced one way up until that last revelation and then I was thrown again. I am not a reader that likes confusing, open ended books, so that it is why I gave it a lower rating. Until that point, it was a fascinating read.
- The romance was a bit of a miss for me. At first, when Wendy starts quickly falling for Pete, I was a bit upset that the romance had an insta love feel, but I pushed past that because that is the way it happens in the classic tale. Then things move into a love triangle as Wendy develops feelings for another. I was actually more invested in the second romance than the one between Pete and Wendy. Neither romance, though, really develops into a solid relationship, and overall both romances were a let down.
- This is a dark version of Peter Pan. It has drug use, a drug dealer, alcohol and breaking and entering and stealing. If you are looking for a fun, light retelling, this one is not for you. It has a heavy tone of grief and mature themes.
Second Star was an interesting and unique fairy tale retelling. I loved the way the author refashioned the original into something modern. The surfing setting is thrilling and I liked that Peter Pan was a surfer. The gorgeous writing and entertaining story line will keep you hooked up until the puzzling ending. If you are a fan of books where you decide the ending, you will love this one, but if you are like me and prefer a concrete ending, you might be disappointed. Still this is one I can recommend because I loved the clever retelling, beautiful writing and sun soaked setting. Take a chance and give it a try.
"The last of the sunset is reflected on white rocks on cliffs, the smoke from the fire rising up beneath them. And the ocean, which has always existed outside of time: it was here long before we were, and it will be here long after we're gone."
"His hand is cool and dry, and mine fits perfectly inside of it, like we were made to hold hands."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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