Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Pub Date   May 13 2014

Synopsis from the publisher:             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 has a lot of descriptive passages — I can picture this as a movie because of the details and the action/interactions between the characters. The scenes of surfing make me want to head out to the beach even though it’s freezing where I am, and there was frost on the ground this morning. I liked the references to the Peter Pan story and I like that it is modernized and set in the context of surfing. This book will definitely appeal to some of my students.

In a way, it’s Point Break meets Peter Pan.

My only issue is with the attempt at an ambiguous conclusion. It isn’t satisfying. Usually I like it when a plot twist surprises me, and I like ambiguity. But, in this case, it felt tacked on, as if Sheinmel didn’t quite know how to end it, and just wanted to please everyone. If this were made into a movie, I’m sure the director would change the ending.

Edit:  Overall, this was an interesting read because I was continually wondering whether or not to believe the narrator, which is not a typical position to be in when reading. Most of them time, I want to believe the world that’s constructed, and I’ll go along with everything, but in Second Star, details from other characters would make me sometimes doubt the protagonist’s story. I didn’t mind that feeling; it was like going along on a road trip where only the driver knows the destination; sometimes I wanted to get out of the car, but part of me also wanted to know where we’d end up.