Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Review copy provided by NetGalley)
When John and Michael Darling – two surf loving teen who go missing – they leave more than an empty bedroom behind. They leave their older sister, Wendy, with a constant ache in her chest, a notion of what their life was like in her head, and a gaping hole in, not just her live, but her family’s life as well.
According to the police, the twins died in a surfing accident. According to the police, Wendy’s younger brother’s are dead even though they have no evidence to prove this. The worst part of the entire situation is that everyone believes the police, everyone believes that John and Michael are really gone.
Wendy knows better to believe the police. She knows that her brothers are out there – alive – chasing after the next big wave. She knows that it’s up to her to find them.
But what she finds is unbelievable. She finds a ragtag team of teen surfers hidden by a cove – a surfer’s nirvana. She finds Pete and Jas, two enemies who know more about her brothers than she does. And ultimately, through they she finds love.
Second Star, a retelling of the classic Peter Pan, written by author Alyssa B. Shienmel, is a realistic, modern-day take on a beloved fantastical tale. Scheinmel’s retelling is tinged with magic, wonder, and love.
There are three key aspects of Shienmel’s Second Star that make this such a great read. Firstly, even though it’s a retelling, it’s a unique one. Yes, Shienmel uses Peter Pan’s basic concept, but she spins a story all her own. SThe writing that fills the pages is strong and descriptive. Shienmel doesn’t rely on simply telling Wendy Darling’s story. Instead, through her words, she shapes images inside of the reader’s mind.
Secondly, the characters. Wendy, Pete, Jas, and even stoney Belle are all original. Their names are really the only things they share with Barrie’s original work. They’re personalities are vastly different. For instance, Jas isn’t mean-spirited, nor is he seeking revenge on his former friend and surf mate Pete. Instead, he’s living and loving the best way he knows how. And Wendy. She isn’t content to sit idly by and take care of everyone, especially knowing that her brothers are out there somewhere. Beyond the personalities, Shienmel’s characters are all relatable on some level or another.
Third, Second Star posses a true transportive quality. Readers sink into the lush setting. They will instantly feel as if they have been transported to a place and time beyond the stars, where life – no matters of the ups and downs – is easy and breezy.
Second Star was a great read. Not just for fans of Peter Pan, but for fans of great stories filled with great characters. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.