Official Stuff –
Author – Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Pages – 256
Publisher – Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Expected Release Date – May 13th, 2014
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.
My Rating – 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley on behalf of Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for a fair review.
Wendy’s twin brothers; John and Michael were surfers. They went missing months ago and even after the police found their battered surf boards and declared them dead, Wendy never believed it. She stills believes they are out there somewhere, chasing the next big wave.
On the search for her brothers she discovers a hidden cove, where a bunch of homeless surfer kids hang out. They live as squatters in the abandon beach houses on the cliff above. It’s just the kind of place her brothers would have loved.
Wendy is instantly attracted to Pete, who is the leader of the little group. He invites her to stay with them, much to the annoyance of his on/off girlfriend Belle. Wendy lies to her parents and moves in with the surfers, convinced that her brothers had also stayed there at some point.
Things start out well, as she helps take care of the boys, and slowly learns to surf. She is warned about Pete’s former friend Jas. Another surfer that lives on the other side of the beach who deals a dangerously addictive drug called fairy dust. Several of Pete’s roommates are former addicts he helped get clean and Jas is supposed to stay on his side of the beach. That agreement to keep him on his own side, doesn’t really keep him away from Wendy.
After an argument with Pete and Belle some disturbing information comes out about her brothers, Wendy ends up in Jas’s arms drugged out of her mind (though not necessarily Jas’s fault).
After a brief stint at home to recover, where her friends and family beg her to seek counseling, she runs off with Jas and continues the search for her brothers. She finds the answers she was looking for, but they are not at all what she expected.
I read this book in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. As most of you know by now, fairy tale retellings are my kryptonite. I just can’t help myself, especially with a Peter Pan story. But usually they are terrible, I even went into this book expecting it to be terrible and no! I loved it!
Though her best friend Fiona (ugh more on her in a second) often discourages her, Wendy feels like it’s her duty to find her younger brothers. That’s what older sisters are supposed to do, take care of their siblings. She feels like her parents have given up. It isn’t until she meets Pete that she really feels like she has a chance to find them. I liked Wendy, her love for her brothers is very strong and it’s heartbreaking to see her come to dead end after dead end.
I didn’t like Fiona. At all. She keeps pushing Wendy to deal with her grief and though she wasn’t completely wrong and she was just worried about her friend, she even went so far as to contact a grief counselor and talk about Wendy. Everyone deals with grief their own way, and I felt like Fiona’s insistence was partly to blame for Wendy’s erratic behavior. You can’t force someone to accept a loved one’s death.
Pete and Jas. Pete was like sunlight and Jas was like the fog and shadow. They both clearly cared for Wendy, though Pete was childish at times and not exactly honest. Pete feels responsible for his little band of homeless surfers, including Belle. Jas never touches the drug he sells and he’s willing to give it all up to help Wendy.
The summary indicates that this is a love triangle story but it’s not. Well, not really. It’s mostly about Wendy’s journey to find her brothers and when she’s done with one boy she moves on to the other. She doesn’t pit them against each other or date both at the same time or lead one on.
There’s a sadness to this book and it was beautifully written. Not to mention there is an interesting twist that I felt made the book stand out for me.
I definitely recommend if you are searching for a quick beach read!