By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 248 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
The feelings I got when I read Second Star certainly matched its oceanside, surfer setting. As a reader, I felt like I was caught in a wave, forced underwater, not knowing which way was up.
What is true? What is real? What is happening here?!
Yup, we’ve got a potentially unreliable narrator in Wendy, which made the vibe of the book very disturbing, mysterious and, well, trippy.
I guess I’d compare it to the feeling I got when I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, though I didn’t exactly like that story. Maybe it’s something to do with my love of surfer books (aka Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar) but it worked better for me here.
My problem with the book was more related to the Peter Pan references. I mean, clearly it’s a take on the classic: Her name is Wendy Darling, for goodness’ sake. But it was a little too vague of a reference for me; I almost wish the author had left it out altogether and just said Peter Pan “inspired” her rather than using the names so literally. I found it distracting!
A mixed bag for me, I guess. Has anyone else read this one?