Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel


Wendy Darling is responsible-a straight A student heading for Stanford in the fall. But during the summer following graduation, Wendy is haunted by her missing brothers. When pieces of John and Michael's ruined surf boards show up on the beach, Wendy's parents give up hope, but Wendy believes her brothers are still out there. Her search leads her to Kensington beach, a surfing haven populated by runaways that live and breathe surfing. Drawn by their charismatic leader Pete, Wendy joins their carefree life of catching the next wave. However, she finds herself caught between Pete, his rival Jas, and the lies they tell about her brothers.

In fairy tale retellings, I look for creativity. How close can the author stay to the original story while also creating something entirely new? Peter Pan is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I was skeptical about Second Star . A surf-themed love triangle between Wendy, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook was intriguing, but seemed a little far-fetched. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Alyssa Sheinmel captures the magic of Peter Pan in a contemporary setting devoid of any actual magic. Her characters hold true to the forever young Peter, responsible Wendy, jealous Tinkerbell, and bad boy Hook (she takes some liberties with Hook, but in an acceptable way). The conflict is new, but lends itself well to most elements of the original Peter Pan story. Sheinmel also manages a love triangle free from sex or preoccupation with sex. Conservative readers should be aware this isn't an innocent and childlike Peter Pan. There are edgier, teenage elements to the plot, but the story remains appropriate for older teens who enjoy both contemporary novels and fairy tales.

Recommended ages-15 and up

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