Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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 his 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 J. M. Barrie's classic tale, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up—and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
Second Star was a unique and imaginative contemporary retelling of Peter Pan told from the perspective of Wendy Darling. She has just graduated high school and her twin brothers John and Michael have been missing, presumed dead from a surfing accident six months ago.
As the story takes place on the California coast and not too far from where I live, I really felt drawn to this story even though I don’t normally read contemporary books. Am I a surf girl, beach bunny? Oh heck no! – far from it. It’s just that reading this reminded me of summer trips during my teens as well as early twenties spent with friends in rented beach-houses on cliff-sides overlooking the water. Those hot summers always felt like stolen time and never did last long enough. With those times in mind Second Star felt exactly like those whirlwind romance filled summers as a teen, liking the bad boy I shouldn’t have. I related to Wendy, myself having been one of those straight A students that always did the right thing, but when I had a mind to do what I wanted, to hell with anyone if they were going to stop me!
Wendy takes off after graduation determined to search for her brothers now that no one else will. As all the twins ever cared about was surfing she heads straight to the beaches and there finds a group of runaway teens she instantly falls in with. Indeed she packs her bag and spends the rest of the summer with them. These are an intense bunch of kids and no strangers to trouble. Who does any young girl end up falling for when she shouldn’t? That’s right the boy that exudes trouble. There just so happens to be two of them this time. For me this was real, intense, heartbreaking and nostalgic. I never did learn to surf but now that I’m all grown up I regret not taking the chance.
The maybe not so shiny
If you’ve read a lot of young adult books you’ll notice that Second Star does have some of the commonly used tropes and foibles many of them seem to suffer these days. Let me just tick a few of these off like so:
– lack of adult presence or adults doing or allowing things that I have to suspend my disbelief over: Would parents really let their daughter run off for the summer with little to no contact from her especially considering they’d just lost two of their children not less than a year ago? I highly doubt that. BUT even saying this – this girl is 18 so she can do whatever the heck she gosh darn pleases in my mind. Goodness knows I did. So for that reason I can still see this happening because I for one did whatever the heck I pleased as a teen and I did have one of those parents that didn’t say squat about it. Why? Because I was the good girl with the flawless grades, and I can only assume my Dad must have thought why attempt to fix what ain’t broken. Did I disappear for days at a time…yeah *shame-faced* I really did. Haha. My point – Essentially this will either work for the reader or it won’t.
– the love triangle: oh zowwy do we have it in the extreme here – but to the book’s credit, it does let you know right up front in the marketing materials that this is going to be a love triangle. So if you don’t like that sort of thing, or aren’t ok with rolling with it right up front then don’t pick it up because the love triangle is a main plot device here.
– the falling for the bad boy: ok, ok – alright I can’t say this trope is always bad because I do like my bad boys and honestly in my youth did fall for plenty of them – but it most definitely is one of the most common elements.
And all the wishing in the world
No matter the things we hope for in life, we definitely don’t always get what we want. Second Star definitely delivers that message in a sad and poignant way with Wendy’s story while still managing to capture some of the adventurous times of our youth. For me it was especially nostalgic and I know that’s the reason I enjoyed it as much as I did. When we do the things we know we shouldn’t because sometimes, just sometimes you really need to. While we might not always get what we want, often enough we learn the things we need. This was a fabulously done re-imaginging of Peter Pan and one that I will definitely keep on my shelf. Heck, if I ever had a rebellious teenage daughter one day I’d even pass it on to her.
*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. Cover art displayed courtesy of the publisher. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.