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*SECOND STAR comes out May 13, 2014!*
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I am amazed at just how much I enjoyed SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. This isn't the first time I've read the author; I previously borrowed THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN from the library and liked it so much that I bought a copy at Books of Wonder during a Teen Author Festival Signing a couple of years ago. I was impressed then with her language, and the fact that she referenced fairy tales. I hoped that meant she'd someday write one. Sheinmel went above and beyond that, however, pulling all of the whimsy and story out of Peter Pan while managing to completely capture the tale in today's contemporary world. Stop and take that in. Peter Pan. Contemporary. No magic. AND IT WORKS. It works so well!
Wendy Darling has just graduated high school. It should be the happiest time of her life. It's not. She can't get over the fact that her twin brothers John and Michael. They're surfers who went missing, and everyone has given up searching for them. The police say they were in a horrible accident, but Wendy refuses to believe it. She takes off for the summer determined to find the truth. She meets up with a gang of surfers and starts dating Pete, the guy in charge, much to the chagrin of his former girlfriend Belle. With Wendy around, the ragtag group starts eating better and becoming more of a family, too, soon growing loyal to her. When Wendy learns that Pete has been keeping a secret from her, she turns to his nemesis Jas and renews her search for her brothers. What will Wendy risk to find them and discover the truth?
The fact that SECOND STAR can be so in tune with Peter Pan without being the original tale is amazing. For example, in a contemporary retelling, instead of teaching Wendy to fly, Peter teaches her to surf...which is like flying, of course! Especially when you think happy thoughts! There's also a poignant reason for the title of the book, which resonates with the location of Neverland: "Second star to the left and straight on till morning!"
When I was little, my brothers and I made wishes on the stars every night. My mother said we should each wish on the first star we saw, but John said that stars were like birthday cakes: you had to wish on your own, and if all three of us chose the same star--the first star--then our wishes wouldn't come true.
(pg. 34, US ARC edition)
The way Sheinmel slips fairy dust and the Jolly Roger into the novel is ingenious. Every nod and innuendo to the original tale just made me smile again and again. I won't reveal them all, because I want you to discover that same magic and wonder when you stumble across them that I did.
In addition to a fairy tale retelling, SECOND STAR is also an original contemporary novel. Wendy falls in love and finds herself in the middle of a love triangle. Pete seems too good to be true..and maybe he is. His secrets can destroy Wendy. He also has the ability to transform her and make her more independent. Jas (Our "Hook," if you will) is dangerous...and a drug dealer to boot. Wendy knows she shouldn't get within ten feet of him...but he might have the answers she so desperately craves. The book is also an homage to surfing, a love song that will make you want to learn to pick up a surfboard and learn why everyone in the book is so in love with catching waves. The atmosphere really suits the story.
SECOND STAR is a fast, easy read. I read it in one sitting and couldn't put it down. I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to see what happened in Wendy's world. Everything gets so bent and twisty later on, and becomes much more psychological. I was intrigued by all the paths SECOND STAR took and can't wait to own my own copy!
Ready to check out
SECOND STAR by Alyssa Sheinmel?
SECOND STAR by Alyssa Sheinmel?
To celebrate the release of SECOND STAR, Macmillan has offered our lovely Fairy Tale Fortnight readers a chance to win a brand-new, sparkly, hot-off-the-press hardcover!
All FTF giveaways run until May 10th.
You must register on the Giveaway Registration Form during the event to be considered for any prizes in individual giveaways throughout the event.