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Second Star

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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 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.

248 pages, Hardcover

First published May 13, 2014

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About the author

Alyssa B. Sheinmel

12 books706 followers
Alyssa Sheinmel is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels for young adults, including A Danger to Herself and Others and Faceless. She is the co-author of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl and its sequel, The Awakening of Sunshine Girl. Alyssa grew up in Northern California and New York, and currently lives and writes in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @alyssasheinmel and Twitter @AlyssaSheinmel or visit her online at www.alyssasheinmel.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 587 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,573 reviews33.9k followers
July 25, 2016
Obviously read for obvious reasons. :D

Second Star had a lovely beginning which set up the moody sunshiny vibe of California surf culture very well. This was followed by a rather dodgy middle bit, however, during which I was seething with all kinds of WENDY DARLING WOULD NOT DO THIS feelings. But but but. The last part won me over again, with a turn that wasn't entirely unexpected, but interesting all the same.

A bit more of a review to come at some point.
319 reviews1,885 followers
September 27, 2014
Second Star could easily go by the title Bad Decisions: the novel. (The movie adaptation would inevitably feature Justin Bieber.) Because really, that's all the characters in this novel make--really, really bad decisions. A retelling of Peter Pan in which Wendy is caught up in a love triangle between Peter and Hook (or Pete and Jas, respectively) should be innovative and fresh, and it was honestly a huge reason why I was looking forward to reading Second Star so much. Unfortunately, the romance was to Second Star as the iceberg was to the Titanic. And that's not to say it ruined ships, because trust there are no worthy ships to be found in this book; that's to say that this ended up as a disaster in the ocean. I only wish it had ended with a few more bodies and also, like, a lot more Leonardo DiCaprio.

First, to get the novel's merits noted and out of the way, Sheinmel's prose is truly wonderful. It captures the essence of a summer in California, and managed to portray the euphoric atmosphere very well; if there truly had been love and romance in this book to have been given justice, I'm sure her writing would've done so. Because of the writing, the setting was for the most part exceptional, and was almost like its own character for most of the novel. How Sheinmel describes the beach and the sand and the setting sky would make for Second Star to be a fitting summer read, regardless of the many issues I may have with it.

As for the bad, the romance (both of them) is unarguably the most frustrating part of Second Star, second maybe to Wendy herself. Just a warning that this portion of the review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, some minor, some not so minor about the romances and other events later on in the novel that contribute to one romance in particular.

Pete: He-Man (and You-Woman)

After barely a week of knowing each other, Pete basically tells Wendy that he's in love with her, by saying that he'd never loved another girl, Belle (whom Wendy immediately has conflict with over Pete, and is always painted as the bitchy character with no development), like he loved Wendy. Before this, all Wendy and Pete had done was surf together, have a few conversations of minimal substance, and rob a house. Apparently this provides the basis for loving someone. Surprisingly enough, this is the least intense case of insta-love in the novel. Even though, right after meeting him, Wendy misses Pete with a burning passion and goes as far as saying that she wants to see him again almost as bad as she wants to see her brothers again. Cute.

From the get-go, Pete is incredibly protective of Wendy, adapting a me-man, you-woman way of establishing the relationship. He tells her whom to stay away from, what's best for her, and why, as if he's known her for years when really it's only been a day. He lies to her on multiple occasions, but Wendy forgives him after but a weak explanation time after time. After having thought Peter was seeing Belle, Peter assured Wendy that nothing is happening between them (and, of course, this is also where he manages to tell Wendy he loves her, basically). This would be okay, were it not for the fact that in doing this, Belle is immediately made out to be the antagonist in this situation; in fact, I think the only antagonists in the entire novel are Belle, and a man who tries to rape Wendy.

Think about that: the only two antagonists in the novel are a girl who had the nerve to be romantically interested in someone Wendy was only just beginning to form a relationship with, and a rapist.

And Pete perpetuates this. So yeah, that's that ship.

Jas: stalker, drug dealer; all around ideal boyfriend, obviously

This guy is the epitome of what's wrong with most "bad boy" love interests. To give some background, the entire plot of Second Star is that Wendy is looking for her missing brothers, but gets side-tracked along the way by cute boys and slutty, man-stealing bitches. Now, it is also revealed that her brothers had been addicts of a drug supplied by Jas himself before disappearing or whatever. Wendy'd forgotten about their plot, and it seems I have as well. Of course, since Wendy is so brave and determined and willing to do anything to help find her brothers, she decides to go on a road trip with Jas. Regardless of the fact that he is the reason her brothers are missing. Because he offered help.

Even before embarking on this road trip with Jas, she says she couldn't have refused his offer (which, yes she could've), and then she literally lists every single reason why she should've.
Yes, this guy is a drug dealer; who knows how much money he's made off of selling dust to unsuspecting kids, getting them hooked, ruining lives--if not ending them? [...]

But he's offered to help, and I'm not about to refuse.

Then, through a weak backstory and shoddy attempts at relationship building, Wendy's disgust for Jas quickly turns to admiration, which then very quickly turns to love. All of this taking place in about two days. Granted, however, Jas did have his eyes on Wendy a little bit before she had hers on him, as shown when Jas tells Wendy that he had been "watching" (it was stalking, let's be honest) her for days earlier. As she swam early in the morning. When she thought nobody had been watching her. Wendy's reaction?
I should feel violated. The guy was spying on me every morning when I thought I was alone [...]. But I don't; instead, I'm kind of glad he was there.

One surefire way for me to be frustrated with any romance is for the love interest to have stalked the main character, and for the main character to brush it off like it's nothing. Wendy passes Jas' stalking off as his being protective of her (like Pete was), and sees it as a security she needs when she should be looking at it in the exact opposite way. Here she is, in a car, with a guy who is known to have been violent, and he tells her that he's been watching her every morning while she was unaware. And she feels safer having heard this.

The other surefire way for me to be frustrated (at best) with everything your romance stands for is for the love interest to assert his strength and power and love by way of defending a near-rape. Which, if you couldn't tell, is what happens in Second Star; Wendy makes the questionable decision (of many) to ask a strange man in a strange bar for a cigarette, despite the fact that she doesn't smoke (I still don't understand why she would do this). The man ends up trying to sleep with Wendy, despite her dissent, and ends up taking himself upon her forcefully. Jas comes out to bludgeon said attempted rapist, after which Wendy says "he can be violent, [and] he can be cruel," but decides to stay in the car with him regardless, and go to a shady motel with him to spend the night.

Also, as a side note, he is described as smelling like "tide and sweat, beer and salt, and something uniquely Jas." If someone told me I smelled "uniquely Blythe," I'd run so fucking far...

With these two romances and love interests, we have the overprotective and vaguely misogynistic one, and we have the drug dealing, abusive, condescending, stalking one; one of them will win, but really there is no winning. They're both terrible love interests, and Wendy is naive enough of a character to fall head-over-heels in love with both of them over the course of a few days.

I don't like this book, I don't like what it perpetuates, and I for the life of me don't understand what it's trying to send. It's a quick read and will most likely be fitting for a carefree day on the beach, and honestly I had enjoyed it before the romance reared its ugly head, but a quick beach read is quite honestly all I could recommend this for; the writing and setting are lovely, but ultimately I disapprove of this novel and nearly everything that goes down in it highly.
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews524 followers
May 16, 2014
”Some of us have only ever found home when we’re on water. Some of us are always waiting for the next wave.”

My face was in a perpetual state of a frown while reading this book that I feel like sending the Botox bill to the publishers.

Seventeen year-old Wendy Darling has a bright future ahead of her who can’t seem to let go of a tragic past. Her brothers Michael and John went to surf one morning and never came home. Her parents and the police seem to have given up on the search but not Wendy, she’s convinced they’re still alive, waiting for her to figure out the scavenger hunt they’ve set out for her where the prize is her family that seem to have disappeared with them. In her search she runs into a group of free-spirited surfers living in a cove called Kensington led by the freckled and charming Pete with whom she’s drawn to. But as secrets begin to unravel among Pete’s crew, Wendy’s search takes her to the opposite side of Kensington where the enigmatic, fairy dust-dealer Jas lives.

Who she’s also drawn to.

Torn between a drug-dealer and a thief, will Wendy have the time and focus to actually find John and Michael?

I suppose there’s an element of rebellious panache in the refusal of a book to avoid as much cliches and stereotypes as possible. To not giving one iota of effort to actually avoid them… that takes some balls.

AndSecond Star did exactly that with much aplomb.

Of course I ended up hating every single one of them: the TSTL heroine, the love triangle, the big misunderstanding, the doubled-up insta-love, the WTF plot twist. It felt like being caught in the middle of a group hug you didn’t want to be in the middle of, but you’re buried deep into that pile of unholy awfulness, its impossible to move against it and you’ll just be better off riding the horror out.

I’m not even militantly against love triangles as a plot device but I am also the kind of reader who demands substance in using that ploy in the stories I read. This had none. It felt like a distraction that severely cheapens whatever emotional currency John and Michael’s disappearance should have. A mark of an effective love triangle for me is when I can actually sympathize with the heroine, where the issue is not Team Dude A vs Team Dude B but that the reader ends up on the side of Team Chicks Before Dicks. When I start to wish Dude A and Dude B start to make sweet sweet love with each other over the heroine’s dead body… I think we have a problem.

(This is when I feel I should really read Twilight just so I can use those funny Jacob-Edward memes where they make-out)

I’m going to do away with what little positives I saw in this “radical reinvention of a classic” (read: in which every character is faithfully unfaithful to whoever they were based from Peter Pan)

1. Great job advertising surfing. I’ve only ever read one other book on surfing (Maverick) and I did like the impassioned and evocative representation of the joys and thrills of the sport. I did think it was pushing things too far making it seem like the solution to every problem out there (from drug addiction to missing siblings) and at the end of the day, the idea of swimming towards a ten-foot wall of water on a slab of wood still terrifies me. But I did feel the second (third? very very distant fourth?) hand adrenaline from Sheinmel’s evident enthusiasm for the subject matter.

2. I did like the way this author writes . I thought it served the story quite well because I did not expect the direction this one took based from how she was telling it. I’d like to pride myself of not being surprised by much these days (because, I am a little paranoid) but it did catch me off-guard. Mostly because the way this was written prevents you from thinking it’s offering anything beyond what is apparent. If I was impressed with it is an entirely different matter though.

I usually like this kind of… resolution. But then I realize that it’s really contingent upon how well affected I was by the story, how invested I was with the characters and how willing am I to revisit that ending over and over throughout my day to make sense of it all.

Ambiguity and fucks given apparently go hand in hand and in this case, one of the two is missing.

Review Copy courtesy of the publishers.

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Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
May 9, 2014
Peter Pan was my favourite cartoon as a child, I must have watched my video cassette (ha!) of it at least 40 times, so it's no surprise that I was giddy about this book. While I had some qualms with it, insta-love for instance - with not one but two boy (ick) - the magical aspect of it had me delighted. It's not the kind of read that captivates from the start, but rather a book that takes you by surprise as it grows into something completely magnetic.

Grieving from the loss of her brothers, Wendy goes on an adventure to try to find out what happened to them, convinced that they're still alive, living a wild life of water and waves. Although the comparisons are few, along her journey we meet some interesting characters who bear resemblance to those of my childhood days watching Peter Pan. I especially enjoyed the fondness they all clearly shared for one another. They were like a true family, brought together by waves and harsh pasts. On that note, I appreciated how many layers there was to this story. Grief was undoubtedly at its centre, but it also brought in a fantastic dose of happiness and learning to live life to the fullest, along with more serious topics like drugs and mental illness.

Aided by a wonderfully atmospheric writing style, the air of mystery in this novel quickly became my favourite part of it all. The lovely, lyrical touch of Alyssa's writing gives everything a dreamlike quality. From the many beautiful beach settings to the freedom of the waves to the friendships made, you can glimpse an undertone of magic inside every page. This gives it a surreal-like tone that makes you wonder if this is all an illusion, a drug-addled haze, or if this is actually real. I do admit to growing a bit antsy towards the middle where it was more (read: all) about surfing, but this is followed by a twist that I found at once perfect and wistful.

Now for the few disappointments I felt towards Second Star, let's talk about the protagonist and the romance. Wendy is not particularly easy to connect to. Her grief, for one, keeps her out-of-reach emotionally; she's obviously in denial, even admitting to chasing phantoms, but the emotional punch this usually brings shows up too late - at the very end for me. Mostly, though, she comes off as a bit whiny and indecisive which are not qualities that make for a likeable protagonist in my book. As for the romance, it consists of double insta-love and a kinda-love-triangle (though it's more like she moves on from one to the other- but is that better?) with two equally uncharismatic boys that I never really felt had much personality. Fortunately, the book's constantly wavering focus does lower the weight of these issues.

While only loosely based on Peter Pan, Second Star borrows some of its magic and wonder, and brings us into an enchanting journey of a young girl battling an emotional war. It has a lot to offer, but could use some deeper character and relationship building.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for summer.
248 reviews299 followers
December 8, 2016
You'd think a novel set so very locally to me would instantly make it appealing. You'd think.

You'd think a novel with such a compelling blurb would call to me. It did. And boy, was I displeased.

I think I shall dissect that synopsis sentence by false sentence just for the fun of it.

"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."

Was there love? No. Was there loss? If you count a loss of my precious time. Were there lies? Sure, but I don't see how this helps market the book. There was NO adventure, only whining about everything that can possibly be whined about.

Where did the dark magic even come from? How can something as mundane as drugs possibly be considered magic?

"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."

Pete? Charismatic? I'm crying.

"Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete."

Falling hard=insta-love.

"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."

No. I will never, ever consider this novel to be capable of living up to the childhood classic we all love, Peter Pan. This is extremely loosely based on the actual story: the only similarities I can confirm are the names of Pete and Wendy and not much else.

I'm searching through the pages looking for even a hint of an exploration of the love-hate relationship between Jas and Pete. I've found nothing. Furthermore, I have no clue as to the meaning of "troubled beauty" and how it relates to this trivial story.

Once I began the novel, I was hit by the less-than-average writing. I was being drowned in passages I could care less about, so I skimmed a bit. The writing was dry and filled with sentences like, I walked. I showered. I was sad. In other words, there was too much telling.

Read this passage, and tell me if you gave any shits:

"I nod as I pull onto the freeway, turning on my blinker to change lanes. I've always preferred to stay in the right lane, to be ready to exit at any time. But now I pull into the middle then over to the left, pressing down on the gas."

Where was the editor to strike down meaningless paragraphs like these?

Wendy Darling is, obviously, the narrator of Second Star. She is just finishing her senior year, and has been accepted to Stanford University. Anyone familiar with the selectiveness of Stanford would expect Wendy to be much smarter than she actually is.

This is the protagonist who follows a guy she doesn't know in the middle of the night. This is the girl who takes a drug although she is completely cognizant of its harm. This is the girl who feels jealous of ANY other female she feels is prettier than her.

She blushes, she stereotypes, she is a Goody-Two-shoes. She has the insta-love of two guys. She is a Mary Sue in its purest form.

People who have read this book and enjoyed it will argue that given her circumstances, her stupidity is excusable. But I find that very hard to swallow. If the author had meant to portray the qualities of a girl like her, why would she be romanticizing - almost condoning - her actions?

Moving on to Pete and Jas, otherwise known as Peter and Hook, respectively. Both of these characters were faded versions of the original; they were stale, emotionless, lifeless underlings. In essence, they are like what the generic brand is to the brand name - mere imitators, failing in terms of quality.

And what's a teen romance without the stereotypical blond meanie? Admittedly she redeems herself by the end, but for a bulk of the novel she is the recipient of the protagonist's envy and hate and a way for Wendy to feel good about herself. The girl-on-girl hate isn't as severe as other young adult novels, but the trope is still present.

Yet what is most inadequate about Second Star is the sheer lack of development-of relationships, of characters, of conflict. The novel barely brushes the subjects it claims to delve into, falling short on most everything. The author could have explored the relationship between the characters, instead of ending it so abruptly. This underdevelopment is the worst fault of Second Star and led to the failure of me not being emotionally invested.

That's not to say that this book actually has potential, though.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
March 8, 2014
To see full review click on one of the following links:

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Disclaimer: As far as I know there are no drugs on Neverland. Wonderland I can’t guarantee and Oz–well, we won’t even go on with what happens in Kansas. I’ll also say that I received Second Star from Netgalley and it obviously did not effect my opinion of this book.

Let’s face in, childhood classics can be bat shit crazy. As wholesome as Disney tries to make its movies there’s still some rather grotesque imagery that scars us for life. As far as scarring material goes, Peter Pan really isn’t that bad. There are no little boys that are turned to donkeys are are sold to a life of indentured servitude in the mines. There’s no court that rules a little girl has to lose her head because an evil despot says so. But, this is the YA retelling where drugs explains everything. And Wendy Darling, well, is a druggie.

I kid you not. To be fair, Wendy only used once in this book. But you know those good ole’ PSA one time is enough to make you a full blown rehab ready junkie. At least according to Wendy’s best friend who totally narcs on her-it’s actually a pretty common occurrence so I really don’t feel that bad for Wendy because she should’ve know better than confiding in that twit. Much like she should’ve known better about a lot of stuff.

At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m on something because I’m already ranting about a book that I haven’t really describe to you. Well, here it is. Think a very (and I mean very) loose Peter Pan retelling where only the characters names are used and that’s pretty much it and add surfing and drugs and you get this book.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
June 15, 2014
Initial reaction: I can't type all my reaction to this via tablet, but I wish this had been better. It had good ideas, even had moments of compelling writing. But the cliches and ending ruined this for me.

Full review:

Alyssa B. Sheinmel's "Second Star" is one of those books that have the "great premise, lacking execution" tag fitting it to a tee. I actually thought this book had some great ideas and a very different, but a relevant imaging of Peter Pan. Making Peter into a surfer kid, Wendy into a young woman searching for her missing brothers John and Michael, having Hook be a drug pusher for the "star dust" that gets people on a high they don't come back from? I do think these were good ideas - I'm willing to give Sheinmel full credit on that front.

Unfortunately, this was a book I struggled through in terms of maintaining interest. For one, it's pacing really didn't do very well for keeping the conflict momentum going. I did think the writing had some compelling intimacies in points, and I was willing to follow Wendy's perspective through the narrative. But for all the narratives cool ideas and interpretation, this...had far too many familiar tropes to make it enjoyable.

Instalove. Love triangle. Female jealousy and shaming. Need I go on? Give me a YA book that doesn't have these things. Seriously, I challenge many a YA author to omit these things from their narratives and still write a compelling story. It's entirely possible, I don't even know why this is a thing because it's so annoying when it's in practically every book (almost) in the genre right now. This book didn't need ANY of those things to make it good. There was already a compelling story with John and Michael being missing out at sea and Wendy setting out to find them, coming across the "Lost Boys" in Peter's crew of misfits surfing waves and eking out a living. Peter's presence could've been alluring without the hard instaloving that Wendy does for him. Even Jac's (Hook) character, who was kind of alluring in some ways, but in others lacking, I kept thinking he was just placed there to be a rival for Wendy's love from Peter. Wendy's conflict with her family and inability to let go of her brothers when everyone had all but given up on them was even emotionally sound. Why the petty droning on as to which boy she would end up choosing, and worse yet, have the only other female character in Peter's ban of misfits causing problems and expressing her sheer hatred for Wendy at every point and turn, over the boys, nonetheless? It's just...a really cheap shot for conflict given the already established conflicts given here, which are solid in themselves.

The ending really disappointed me because it was one of those ones that don't feel cohesive, and doesn't deliver given all the promises made from the setup of the book. You're expecting some kind of thread that draws things together, but it ends up being a muddled mess and I didn't feel like Wendy really reached the coming to terms she needed for this story to really hit home. I saw what it was trying to do, but the way it was done just didn't work. It felt too "Pretty Little Liars" twisty and that didn't fit the tone of this story at all.

In the end, it had some intrigue in its setup, but unfortunately didn't measure up. I'd be willing to read more from Sheinmel in the future because there were things in here that I liked on the level of writing and some emotionally compelling turns, but it really felt lacking due to its common cliches and chosen execution.

Overall score: 2/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.
Profile Image for Nemo.
116 reviews25 followers
March 29, 2014
This is where I thought this book would take me:

Instead it I guess it took me to the first star

It wasn't that this book was bad, it had some amazing descriptions and the plot was steady, but the ending was just so awful!

Wendy's twin brothers, John and Michael, disappear and she refuses to believe that they're really dead, since they never found the bodies. When she graduates she realizes she's losing her chance to find them and she goes on a trip to do just that when she meets a mysterious tall surfer, who she can't get out of her head and a beach whose beauty matches non other

“There's only one place I know where the water is that shade of blue, the sand that bright white, the waves that perfect “

From there she starts to search for her brothers and deal with jealous ex-girlfriends and flipping emotions.

This book has Amazing descriptions most of the time, other times it was a little too much though. An example of a great descriptions:

Tonight, the wind off the ocean licks the flames of the beach bonfire until I think the blaze will rise all the way up the cliffs”

And an example of how over the top it gets:

” Jas's teeth are so white when he smiles, I bet he scares the sharks”

I didn't know that white teeth could scare away sharks. I know I wont be terrified of going in the ocean, as long as I have my handy-dandy Crest whitening strips on.

Now If you're turned off of this book because of the love triangle, don't worry about it. Wendy's only indecisive for about 2 chapters then she picks a man and stays with him, happy dance for that!

I also loved how they were all these subtle references to the real Peter Pan like Fairy dust, The second star, and the Jolly Roger. It was so creative how Alyssa Sheinmel added these and had me freaking out happily.

As for the characters, they were all very fun! Jax and Pete are our main men
They're both very charming and sexy just like main men should be

The lost boys and Belle were snarky and fun

Wendy had her moments, there wasn't one specific moment where I got tired of her, but by the end I could already guess what she's going to say because she'd already said 10 times!

As for the ending..... oh boy.
It was so disappointing.
It left me wanting more or waiting for a second book, so when I found out there wasn't going to be another one It just kept reading the last sentence as if more words would magically appear.

Overall the plot kept me guessing and in suspense throughout the whole thing, but at the end it just let me down... there was no big moment or grand finale it was just....done.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley as an exchange for honest review.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,721 reviews462 followers
January 8, 2023
This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/

I liked this book! I have had a copy of this book for more years than I really want to admit and I am glad I finally got around to giving it a try. I was rather intrigued by the fact that this book is a Peter Pan retelling despite the fact that my knowledge on this topic is limited to what I remember from the Disney movie so I can’t really say how closely tied to the original content this book is. Since the focus is mainly on surfing, I would guess the connection is loose. I found it to be a rather entertaining story.

Wendy’s brothers John and Michael disappeared and are presumed to be dead. Everyone believes that they are gone but Wendy thinks that they are still out there and is determined to find them. John and Michael were surfers and Wendy soon finds herself hanging out with a group of surfers led by a man named Pete in her quest to find them. The surfer group lives in an abandoned house on the water. A drug dealer named Jaz (think Hook) lives on the other side of the cove.

I liked the characters in this book quite a bit and I hate to admit that my favorite was Jaz. Jaz might be a drug dealer, which I didn’t like, but he never did anything to Wendy besides try to help her. I never completely trusted Pete since he always seemed to be hiding things from Wendy. I liked Wendy and was impressed by her determination to find her brothers. I was rather drawn into the story by the writing and found it hard to put down.

The ending is wide open and I must say that I wanted a bit more closure than we get in the story but that didn’t ruin the experience for me. This was an interesting retelling that was sometimes darker in nature. I wouldn’t hesitate to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
593 reviews5,608 followers
August 12, 2020
This quick summery read is set around a girl named Wendy whose brother’s disappeared in a surfing accident a couple of years ago. She is determined at all costs to find them to prove that they are still alive when everyone else has already lost hope. Leaving her family and best friend behind without thinking twice, Wendy tries to retrace her brother’s steps, before they went missing, and ends up at Kensington beach, home to runaway teenage surfers. She quickly connects with Pete, the head of the household of surfers who allows her to stay with him and his friends during her search. With teenage love, loss, and the overcoming of grief, Wendy learns that her chase after her brothers might really be a journey to find herself.

Let me just start off by saying that this book had potential. The plot could have been ten times better if the basis of the character background and creation of the setting wasn’t scarce and actually went into depth. With this large lack in the plot, it didn’t allow me to fully connect with this novel. I would have loved to have had more information on her relationship between her depressed parents and the two boys she met and instantly fell for so the book wouldn’t have felt as rushed as it was. I also couldn’t really believe Wendy’s naive snap decisions she made without fully thinking through the consequences which made her get into unnecessary problems that should have never arose.

The supporting characters really did help Wendy grow as a character, though. They brought her out of her shell by making her try surfing, a thing she swore she’d never do thanks to her brother’s accident. She gradually learned to trust others, a good trait she acquired to make her a stronger person. I also liked one of her love interests, Jas, who helped make her braver and believed in her dreams no matter what.

All in all, this book had good descriptions of surfing and a very intriguing ending I never expected to happen. The ending managed to be slowed down a bit and felt better paced to bring the reader right into the plot twist. I would have enjoyed this book more if the character building and background descriptions were planned out better to make the situations Wendy went through less ridiculous. Some decisions she made were very impractical and reckless, something that really bothered me during my entire time reading this story, yet this book wasn’t as difficult to get through in the end.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
August 21, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

So I don't usually read contemporary Young Adult, but when I saw the description for Second Star I was instantly intrigued. My tastes typically run towards speculative fiction, but I figured a reimagining of Peter Pan, one of my favorite fairy tales, is still close enough to be in my comfort zone. Then I heard there was also going to be a Peter, Wendy and Hook love triangle in it and ... well, okay, my curiosity just got the better of me.

I'm so glad I read this one, though. Speaking as someone who can count on one hand the number of contemporary YA books I read in the past year, I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. But keep in mind, if you're looking for a story that stays true somewhat faithful to the Peter Pan mythos, you might not find it here. Second Star isn't so much a retelling but a complete reinterpretation, with a lot of elements that are only loosely based on the original classic.

Firstly, the characters are all surfers. Wendy Darling, newly graduated from high school, takes off on a search for her missing brothers John and Michael, twins who disappeared months ago, suspected to have drowned in a surfing accident off the coast of California. But Wendy believes they are still out there, and follows a series of clues to their whereabouts. Her search leads her to meet Pete, a mysterious boy who takes her to a secret cove called Kensington (presumably a reference to Kensington Gardens, where Lost Boys who fall out of prams when their nannies aren't looking are swept off to Neverland to live with Peter Pan) where he lives in an abandoned house with his gang of surfers, all young runaways and squatters who have no place else to go. One of Pete's constant companions is a quick, small and blond girl named Belle, who immediately dislikes Wendy out of jealousy, and is always trying to turn the other boys against her. On the other side of the beach lives Jas (a short form of James, as in James Hook) a surfer dude and drug dealer. Jas' peddling of a new drug called "fairy dust" had led to a falling out between him and Pete, and now the two are bitter enemies. Oh, and there's also a dive bar in this book called The Jolly Roger, described as "a bad scene".

There are tons of other little references like this, which are really fun to spot and to see the author spin the various elements of the fairy tale to make them fit in the story. The title Second Star and how that term was used in context is in itself one of the best examples. Of course, the only downside to a book like this is that the characters themselves are limited to an extent by their roles and archetypes in the original story. After all, you can try adding depth but only go so far before they become totally unrecognizable from the characters that inspired them, but I think for what she had to work with Sheinmel did a really good job putting her own flair and originality while staying as close as possible to the spirit of Peter Pan.

I also don't know much about the author, but I would not be surprised at all if she surfs. I thought the idea of using surfing as a metaphor for flying in this book was simply brilliant. Surf culture fits this story so well, and the way the author describes the feeling of being on the waves is so realistic and passionate, I can practically smell the salt water, suntan lotion and surfboard wax. The exhilaration that comes from riding a huge wave is so palpable I can see why Sheinmel chose to compare it to flight.

As always, there will be no spoilers in my reviews, but I just have to say the ending kept me awake for two hours even after I finished the book. I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I thought about the many ways one can analyze the story of Peter Pan and how J.M. Barrie himself had explained in the novel the nature of Neverland, a boundary-free and adventurous place in the minds of children that are never the same from one child to the next. In the end, I can't say the conclusion in Second Star was really what I wanted, but I suppose it was also very fitting.

This book was fun, but also poignant, which I did not expect. I don't regret picking it up.
Profile Image for kaylaaaaaaaaaa kaylaaaaaaaaaa.
Author 1 book111 followers
April 9, 2018
I just read this and it shattered my soul and my everything. This book is freaking amazing and if you are a fan of Peter Pan but also stories from Kasie West, you'll love this book.
It has become one of my favrouite books of all time!
Profile Image for Meg.
209 reviews348 followers
April 30, 2014
Hey Wendy, we need to talk.

I’m a little bewildered here. How did you fuck this book up so bad? (Okay, okay, to be fair, it wasn’t entirely your fault, but, on second thought, the story is told through your eyes so actually it kind of is).

I don’t think you understand how significant it is that I disliked this book so much. Let me explain to you a thing, I was so. so. excited when I heard about Second Star. Peter Pan meets surfers, I love Peter Pan and I love surfers, loving this book is an easy jump to make. What I’m trying to say is I was predisposed to love you and that means I am generally willing to forgive a lot. Unfortunately, all the goodwill in the world was not enough for me to come out of this anything other than bitterly disappointed.

A full compilation of my grievances can be found on Cuddlebuggery.
Profile Image for Shannon.
3,090 reviews2,358 followers
Want to read
August 13, 2017
A modern-day reimagining of Wendy's story with a Peter Pan and Hook love triangle?


Um, how about ZOMG YES?!
Profile Image for Heather .
571 reviews99 followers
January 20, 2014
Wow. Where to even begin with this book?!! I sat down to read it, and never got up. Read straight past my bed time, into the night, until turning the very last page. For me, the writing was absolutely enchanting and dreamlike--a fairy tale shimmering to life in a modern day retelling by the beach. By far, the most magical book I've read in a very long time.
Wendy Darling's world is shattered when her twin brothers go missing after going surfing and then never come back. Her parents are shells of themselves, merely passing through the motions of life. Wendy, in the mean time, is convinced her brothers are still out there somewhere.
She's a straight A student-- Stanford bound in fact,  but Wendy feels the tug of the ocean, the whispers of her brothers.
A chance meeting with a beautiful boy named Pete leads her to Kensington. Once the home of millionaires, now an abandoned neighborhood clinging dangerously close to the edge of a cliff backed up to the ocean. Wendy is sure her brothers could have know this very spot where the perfect waves crash in and the tide washes away the path that leads back home. She is inexplicably drawn to the salty air and fire-lit nights.
Second Star brought me back to my senior year in Califronia and the summers in between. Taking weekends at lazy beach towns, finding warm sand between my toes and then shaking it all out again to head back to school, the sunny days and carefree atmosphere.
Pete is perfect. He's exactly what you would imagine a modern day Peter Pan to be. Belle, his moody, angry girlfriend has secrets of her own. And the other lost boys,  Hughie and Matt come together to form their own makeshift family. But there is a very real threat living on the other side of the beach.
He can hook you with his lies, his dust and his enigmatic pull. The love triangle all happens so fast you won't know what hit.
Wendy finds herself doing things she would never normally do, and second guessing her mind as she chases the second star in search of the truth. Lines between reality and dream becomes blurred (as often happens with trauma, love and loss),  s0 much so that even the reader is not sure what is fact and what is imagining.
I'm guessing this is a standalone, because of the ending. I don't want to spoil anything for readers. But suffice it to say, Second Star is a twisty, turvy ride that will suck you in, pull you under and spit you back out wanting another wave. It takes everything you think you know and shakes it up-- but for me it was perfect.
Highly recommend Second Star. If you are looking for it to stick to your pre-conceived notions about the well known childhood story of Peter Pan, you may be disappointed-- but if you want  amazing writing, here you'll find fast paced story spinning at its best. Thanks so much to Ksenia at MacMillan Teen Books for sending me this treasure!
My advice... head over to NetGalley and request it. Pre-order and add Second Star to your wishlist NOW.
Content: Due to this being such an early review I  won't list specifics yet. There are several elements of mature content but not in so much detail that it was bothersome to me, will release the parental warnings after the book is published.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
May 20, 2014
Initial Thoughts: About 2.5 stars or thereabouts, still thinking about this. This is a modern day retelling of Peter Pan. In this one, Pete is a surfer dude and so are his gang of lost boys. They live to find the next big wave. Wendy is looking for her missing (and presumed dead) brothers, who were also surfer dudes. I found this a little slow however some of the references to the Peter Pan story were clever.

The Review: 2.0 stars
Peter Pan as a surfer dude?

Second Star is a modern day retelling of the Peter Pan story. Set in fictional Kensington Beach, California, Second Star is the story of Wendy, who is desperately seeking her two lost (and presumed dead) brothers John and Micheal.

Second Star had potential. Some of its references to Peter Pan were very clever. The Jolly Roger is a scary biker bar, fairy dust is a highly addictive drug, and the beach is named after Kensington Gardens. Unfortunately, the book did not work for me. First of all, I found the pacing to be too slow. I felt it was a bit of a slog to get through this book. My other beef has to do with the absentee parents so often seen in young adult books. Wendy is the only surviving child left to these grieving parents and she is able to come and go as she pleases. I understand that Wendy's parents were not as absent as they seemed, but it still bothered me.

Another little annoyance was the fact that Wendy did not know how to surf. Really? Wendy grew up not far from the beach, her two brothers surfed often, and she was never taught to surf? I found that hard to believe.

I was annoyed with Wendy throughout the story as she flitted around from under Pete's influence to Jas' side. For someone who is looking for her brothers, she is easily distracted by the next cute guy. Wendy's choices were quite poor, lying to her friends and family so she could get into Jas' place. Wendy even takes fairy dust as an entry to Jas' place so that she can investigate further.

And yes, there is the dreaded love triangle, though why, I just can't understand.

If you do like Peter Pan and enjoy retellings, you may enjoy this book. Personally, I can't recommend this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for a review copy of this book.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
632 reviews595 followers
April 25, 2015
The synopsis for SECOND STAR promises “A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic,” but all I received was a contemporary book set by the ocean that does indeed include lies. The story itself is pretty much based on the lies the characters tell each other.

So here’s my summary of what the book is really about:

So let’s start with the love triangle (love square?) that doesn’t really add anything to the plot except more angst and more lies. We have Pete, who doesn’t necessary lie (according to him) but doesn’t tell the truth either. It doesn’t take Wendy long before she’s smitten, and she becomes quickly swept up into Pete’s world. It’s not quite insta-love, but it’s pretty close.

Enter second strange guy, Jas, a drug dealer of fairy dust. No, really, stop laughing-it’s true. Now we pretty much have insta-love. And of course he has to have a weird history with Pete. It’s worse because he’s later revealed to be

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the writing, some sentences just didn’t make sense and there were some pretty odd metaphors. However, all the surfing aspects were really well written and very detailed so that was a plus.

If you’re looking for a loose YA re-telling of Peter Pan simply because it’s your favorite fairy tale, you’ll probably enjoy SECOND STAR. There are elements of this book that I enjoyed, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. If you are looking for a truly impressive adaption with beautiful writing and a unique spin on the story, try TIGER LILY instead.
Profile Image for Rikke Simonsen.
198 reviews41 followers
July 11, 2016
Jeg havde glædet mig til at læse denne bog, siden jeg havde færdiglæst 'Tiger Lily'. Tanken om at blive ved med at omgås Peter Pan, og lignende karakterer fra universet, var nok til at lokke mig til at læse bogen. Selvom der ikke er de store magiske sammentrækninger mellem denne historie og den vi kender om Peter Pan, så er det alligevel med til at man føler, at man kender karaktererne bedre end hvis de var fremmede. Personligt synes jeg at Jas var den skønneste karakter, og jeg ville med glæde læse endnu en bog, hvor han indgår.

Selvom jeg ikke helt fik det Peter Pan-sus som jeg havde regnet med, så overraskede bogen mig på mange andre punkter. Den var gennemtænkt, og plottet hang ligesom sammen i en synlig rød tråd igennem bogen. Jeg havde dog ikke helt set slutningen komme, hvilket gjorde et positivt indtryk på mig, og som har gjort, at den har sat sig fast i mine tanker. Derudover var der de mest idylliske beskrivelser, og jeg ønskede næsten selv at lære at surfe på de magiske bølger.

""Er du okay?" Fiona lægger armen om mig, og jeg bekæmper min trang til at ryste den af mig. Hun prøver jo bare at være sød og sige det rigtige. Alle prøver at sige det rigtige. Som om der fandtes ord, der kunne hjælpe." - citat side 7.

Det var den skønneste bog at læse her til sommer, da den indeholder surfing, godt vejr og strand - så bliver det ikke meget bedre, gør det? Lad dig surfe afsted på den højeste bølge, så det føles som om at du kan flyve. Du skal bare huske at tænke glade tanker. Jeg nød i hvert fald at læse bogen, og den kan varmt anbefales, især hvis du også er lidt vild med karaktererne fra Peter Pan, og gerne vil opleve et nyt syn på dem.
Profile Image for Sheyanne Royal.
87 reviews
February 7, 2017
I enjoyed this book- for the most part. The beginning really hooked me and so did the surfing plot. Pete and "the boys" was cheese, because it was just a modern day Peter Pan type story. The ending was what made me not enjoy this book as much.
Profile Image for Natasha (books_n_dreams).
295 reviews5 followers
August 16, 2015
So my exact thoughts about this book are all over the place. I really enjoyed it, but there were still answers I really wanted. I do like the twist of doing a Peter Pan contemporary story that feels like it is real. I'm such a Peter Pan fan that when this book was recommended to me I couldn't say no. I had to have it, no way around it. What I like the most about the book was the direction the story went in, it was something that was completely different. Again I loved the concept, there were just a few things left unanswered that I felt like really needed to be answered to complete the story.

My exact feelings on Wendy are a mix of both frustration and understanding. I didn't really make a connection with her like I thought I would, but because of the easy ups and downs in the story line I can see why I wouldn't. I like how she does go out there and does what she thinks is right no matter what others think.

Pete I liked him, but I didn't love him, though he definitely represented who Pan is. Belle she definitely has the right attitude. I think the character I was more curious about was Jas (James), he was the character I found the most captivating and having to know more.

Again I did enjoy this book a lot even without the unanswered questions, though I would like to see some type of epilogue novella to go with this :)
Profile Image for Alexis Sky.
381 reviews
January 19, 2014
This is so hard for me because there was so much about the book I absolutely loved. I love the story of Peter Pan and this modern retelling had so much potential. I gave it three stars because of that. But the author failed in so many ways.
Wendy Darling's brothers are assumed dead by her family but not by Wendy. She goes in search of them only to find drifter surfers Petey and Belle and Jas (the drug dealer). She learns to surf and becomes acclimated with the world her brothers chose of her. She falls in love, learns about herself and her brothers in so many wondrous ways.
Where does the author fail then? Well she has a great story then decimates it (I don't do spoilers so you'll have to read it yourself) I ended the book quite angry and I hope for a sequel because there should be more to this story. It really upsets me when I get so excited by a book only to be disappointed in the end. Had I rated this book when I finished it would have received one star but the more I thought on the more I loved so many parts of the story. I hope she writes a sequel to redeem the ending.
Profile Image for Neus.
176 reviews162 followers
September 30, 2016
Opinión completa La Coneja de Papel :)

Second Star presenta un original retelling de Peter Pan situado en las siempre soleadas playas de California, cuyos rincones más escondidos están habitados por niños perdidos, fugitivos de la vida adulta. En este escenario, Wendy tratará de encontrar a sus dos hermanos desaparecidos y, al mismo tiempo, tendrá que lidiar con el dolor de la mentira y la cruda realidad. Un cuento sobre amor, pérdida y no querer crecer nunca. ¡Muy recomendado! :)
Profile Image for Mariela Garcia.
46 reviews11 followers
January 11, 2015
I am still trying to function what just happened. I am the one going crazy or the main character Wendy. Im still trying to understand what just happened. From the first few chapters I kind of figured there was going to be a twist at the end but I did not expect that to happen. To bad this is only a stand alone. But I still got questions that were not answered.
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,899 reviews31 followers
August 16, 2015
Great retelling of Peter Pan, I enjoyed it a lot, and there were some strange parts, and it was a bit short, but I enjoyed it a ton!
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 4, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I'm going to be completely honest - I'm not entirely familiar with the story of Peter Pan. I never read the book(s) or heard the story when I was a little kid, or watched the movie, or anything. I don't know the story. I know names, like Wendy, Peter, Tinkerbell, etc., but I couldn't tell you how one person was connected to another. All that being said, I couldn't tell you how this book measured up against the original Peter Pan. What drew me into this book was the gorgeous PURPLE cover, and the whole "dark magic" bit in the synopsis.

Obviously, I'm disappointed with this book, which is unfortunate. There were a few redeeming qualities of this book. Probably the only thing I REALLY enjoyed about this book was the mystery behind it all - where did Wendy's brothers go? I don't know how the story shapes up in the original Peter Pan, so I didn't know what to expect. I was engrossed in the mystery of their disappearances, so I read furtively to find out what happened. Granted, I was disappointed, in the way the author handled the reveal of everything, but she had me going for a while there.

I don't have much else to say, sadly. Stay tuned for my dislikes. There might be a lot of them.

What I Did Not Like:

I had many problems with this book, but one of them was the confusion. I was confused at the beginning of the book. I was confused as I was reading (though I hoped that everything would clear up by the end of the book, so I kept reading). I was confused even by the ending, much to my disappointment. I feel like nothing was fully explained in the end, which makes me so irritated. I guess the author was going for a mysterious, open-ended ending, but there IS a such thing as TOO open-ended. Like, you can't leave everything up to the reader's imagination. I had no idea what to think, when the book ended. It didn't help that I wasn't entirely familiar with the original story of Peter Pan, but I feel like I still should have been able to read this book as an original story, and understand SOMETHING.

I was NOT a huge fan of Wendy. She seemed extremely unbalanced and empty-headed, in my opinion. She made some ridiculous decisions that no stable person would have made. Who runs away from their parents' house, to live in a rundown house with other teenagers (STRANGERS), who have no money, no electricity, no education, no job, etc.? Now, does that seem reasonable? Rational? Understandable? HECK NO! No middle-class, USA-born, spoiled teenager in their right mind would give up a steady life, with, um, TECHNOLOGY, just like that. Not plausible, not believable.

I also didn't like any of the other characters. Pete, Jas, Belle, Hugo (or was it Hugh?) - I wasn't a fan of any of them. They seemed very not normal, for teenagers. Okay, I know, that was the point, but something about all of them rubbed me the wrong way. Basically, I didn't like anybody in this book.

The romance was SO WEIRD. I didn't like that there was a love triangle, but I especially didn't like how brainless Wendy acted around both of them. Just lust after both of them and go after both of them physically, why don't you? Her reaction to the two of them was so off, and it bothered me. Weird. Weirdddd.

I already mentioned being confused. The plot was confusing. The structure of this book was weird. The only thing that I understand concretely was that everyone declared Wendy's brothers "gone", but she refused to believe that they were dead, and so she decided to search for them. Honestly, the search was really sketchy and half-a**ed, but I legitimately wanted to know how things went down. Hence the two stars.

I think I'm in a state of apathy, when it comes to this book. I finished it and closed and it now I can barely remember what I read (and I just read it last night). So, eh, it gets two stars, but it wasn't great at all.

Would I Recommend It:

Ehh, no, not at all. Not unless you like a healthy dose of confusion. I'm not entirely sorry I read this one, because I remember being intrigued by this book in January, but I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I had known beforehand that it would be confusing and difficult to follow. I don't have time to waste on books that won't even read well, unfortunately!


1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. Maybe because the cover is gorgeous. Maybe because I really wanted to like this story. This book really wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean that you won't like it! If you had your hopes up for this one, make sure you still read it (unless you're completely convinced otherwise). Just, like, borrow it from the library or something. I wouldn't buy it or pre-order it. But don't pirate it either - that's just cruel, people.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,232 followers
April 8, 2014
An advance copy of this title was received in exchange for an honest review.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

I love a good fairy-tale retelling as much as the next girl, but still I go into each one with some amount of trepidation. What if the author butchers one of my favorite characters from my childhood? What if the story is too close to the original to stand on its own? What if the story is so vastly different from the original story that it doesn't feel like a retelling at all? These questions and many others are what I find myself pondering before picking up any book based on a beloved story from my childhood.

Second Star is a Peter Pan retelling. But most of the time, I forgot that fact while I was reading. The most obvious aspect making this a retelling is the fact that neither of the boys that Wendy meets -- while in her search for her lost brothers -- wants to grow up. Pete (Peter, obvs) is the sweet and caring leader of a group of surfers, squatting in a house on the cliffs of the California coast. Jas (Hook) is the mysterious drug-dealing counterpart to Pete's rag-tag gang of surfers. Oh, and Belle (Tinkerbell, again, obvs) is there to keep Wendy from falling for Pete. (Or, rather, to keep Wendy and Pete from getting together because I don't think there's really a possibility of keeping Wendy from falling for Pete.) So, as far as characters go, it sounds pretty similar, right?

No...not really. When it says a "radical reinvention" up there in the summary, it means it. "Neverland" is a beach cove. The Jolly Roger is a seedy bar. Fairy dust is the drug Jas is peddling to his fellow surfers. Jas/Hook actually might not be the villain we've been led to believe. And Wendy's brothers, surfers themselves, may be gone for good.

I liked the idea of Pan and Hook vying for the affections of Wendy Darling. And I should have known that I'd fall for the not-so-evil Hook myself. I always fall for the guy I'm not supposed to like. Such is life, though the fact that Jas might have been the only one interested in helping Wendy find her lost brothers might have something to do with that. But never did I dare to dream that Wendy might actually waver between the two surfers herself. The thing is, though...this Wendy's not the Wendy from the original story either. She's grieving the loss of her brothers. She's making rash decisions, leading to one mistake after another. This Wendy is not the responsible mothering type. Except that this instinct does seem to kick in for her at times, like when she grilled dinner for all the Lost Boys.

There were hints of the original story, as different as this retelling was, and it was enough for me to enjoy the story overall. I wish I could say that I didn't see that ending coming, but I did...no matter how much I was hoping for a different outcome. It's one of those ambiguous, WTF did I just read kind of endings, and honestly, it left me more than a little disappointed. I probably would have rated the book higher if not for that because I was really having fun with the story up to that point, confusing as it was.

GIF it to me straight:

Confusing, wondrous & frustrating.
Felt like I was flying in circles myself for much of the book.
Profile Image for Jaylia3.
752 reviews131 followers
May 1, 2014
Peter Pan! It was by far my favorite childhood story, so when I discovered Second Star featuring a modern day Wendy I could not resist. In this update Peter Pan is just Pete, a former foster child and now a surfer who spends his days happily flying across the waves at a lovely secluded beach. He, his lost boys, and tiny but spirited Belle live by themselves in a dilapidated, long abandoned luxury home perched high atop the crumbling cliff that looms over the hidden cove where they surf.

Wendy is a good-girl straight A student, just graduated from high school and going to Stanford in the fall. She grew up in a home with glass walls so she’s never slept in the dark--the city lights below their hill have always been her stars. Wendy stumbles into Pete’s hideaway while searching for her brothers Michael and John, two surf-loving 16-year olds who have been missing for months. Everyone else accepts that they are dead since two surfers matching their descriptions were seen wiping out on a giant wave and never resurfacing, but Wendy can’t let go. Maybe it was two other boys. Maybe her brothers are just on the lam, chasing the best waves. Wendy’s parents and friends believe she is deluding herself and needs therapy so she can grieve properly and face reality. Wendy won’t listen. She just wants to find Michael and John so she concocts a story for her parents, telling them that she’s vacationing with her best friend, and then sets off on her mission alone, which is when she finds Pete.

While there’s no actual flying there is a feeling of magic in this story. The many beach scenes are so well imagined they conjure up vivid sensations of sand, sun, salt, and sea. Wendy falls hard for Pete and loses her way for a little while as she immerses herself in his world, surfing for the first time and even breaking into expensive homes with Pete’s crew to collect supplies, but she never forgets about searching for her brothers. Though Pete warns Wendy against it she accepts help and then love from Pete’s nemesis--a handsome Captain Hook character, here a surfing, high living drug dealer named Jas who tells Wendy he thinks he may know where John and Michael are. As the story goes on what is real and imaginary starts to become unclear, which disappointed me a little as I was reading, but the ending satisfactorily ties the strands of Wendy’s life together and in general this is a wonderful and hypnotic Peter Pan update.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions are mine.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
44 reviews11 followers
June 6, 2014
I absolutely loved this story!
The story is really dreamy, just like a fairy tale. I liked the fact that it was the "retailing" of Peter Pan but in a modern way.
This story is not just about romance, it's also about the love between siblings, friendship, confusion and betrayal.

Wendy: I really like her character. When she was searching for her missing brothers, with each hint she found, I could feel the hope right with her.

Pete: Brave and responsible. He is always taking care of everyone. Even though he lies to Wendy more than once, he did it to protect her in a certain way.

Jas: I have to say that, even though he was supposed to have the "bad" role, he really didn't. In fact, he was always sincere and caring with Wendy.

I'm totally team Jas! :)

The only thing that I didn't really like is the end.. I wish there was more to it.

Profile Image for Tita Mirra.
55 reviews30 followers
May 30, 2019
I almost didn't read this book because of the reviews, but I adore Peter Pan and surfing, so curiosity got the best of me. And I loved it! I understand some of the criticism, but it helps if you read it as magical realism instead of contemporary romance (can't say much more without spoiling the book).
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