Release Date: May 13, 2014
Published by: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
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.
I haven't read or watched Peter Pan, so I can't tell you how much of this retelling stays true to the original or how it even compares, but I can say that I was enchanted by Second Star. The summary mentions a touch of magical realism, but the entire novel felt magical to me, almost dreamy. Relaxed in the way that California summers are. As a California native, I've known a few surfers and I've always wanted to learn how to surf. Combine the heavy focus on surfing with the magical quality of the novel, and I was set. It's the perfect length for a summer read and the perfect pace too. The next time you're at the beach, bring this book along and let yourself fall into its atmosphere.
Whether or not you'd enjoy Second Star probably depends on your reaction to the magical realism elements (and also familiarity with Peter Pan--but again, can't speak to that myself). Some other reviews I've read have mentioned Wendy's decisions, insta-love, and the characters as deterrents. For me, none of these were an issue because they fit into that dreamy scope and the twist on Wendy's inability to handle the grief of losing her brothers. You might want to read an excerpt to decide where you fall on that scale. The romances are both pretty intense. Wendy hasn't known either guy for very long before she starts to fall for them, but considering the setting - beach houses that few people can ever find; houses that miraculously stay clean, not a track of sand in sight - and the heavy emphasis on surfing, on relaxing and understanding that culture and letting go of your worries, neither felt inappropriate to me. I was charmed by Pete's quick acceptance of Wendy, by Jas's attempts at redemption, by the entire character cast and the hidden cove of surfing lifestyle (too bad Kensington doesn't exist :/). This novel is wonderfully indulgent escapism made for the summer.