Thursday, April 24, 2014

Somewhere Only We Know - A Review of SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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.

Available 5/13/2014

I was born in Stanford, California, and even though I moved across the country to New York when I was six years old, I still think of myself as a California girl.

Like so many writers, I grew up loving books. I loved stories so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored. 

First of all, can we all take a moment and just appreciate this beautiful cover.  It has me ready for summer.

Second Star is a very unique re-telling of Peter Pan.  Months after Wendy Darling's twin brothers disappeared, she and her closest friends graduate from high school.  The police and Wendy's family believe the twins were killed while chasing a big wave up the coast, but Wendy remains unconvinced.  

On the day of her graduation, Wendy meets a fascinating surfer named Pete.  Feeling the draw of the ocean and chasing the memories of her brothers' quest to find the best waves, Wendy follows clues that lead her to Pete and his friends.  The abandoned mansion where Pete and his group of runaway friends live becomes Wendy's home for the summer as she searches for clues that could lead her to her brothers.

I have read 'surf' stories before, but I have to say that Second Star did the best job describing the high, of expressing the call of the ocean.  I could feel Wendy getting lost as Pete taught her how to paddle out and ride the waves.

Wendy's best friend and her family are convinced that she is having a hard time working through the grieving process.  When Wendy returns home with remnants of a hallucinogen in her bloodstream, her parents refuse to believe her story of the enigmatic boy and his group of misfit runaways.  They take her to counseling to get help for her "illusions".  I won't spoil the ending, but I quite liked it.  The author left a bit of an opening for my imagination to step in and have some fun.

There were some questionable aspects of the book for me.  I never quite believed that there was a love triangle between Wendy, Pete, and Jas.  While Wendy and Pete's relationship was natural and almost involuntary the situation between Wendy and Jas was forced and felt very plastic.  The more time that Wendy spent with Jas, I did see the draw, and even began to fall for him a little myself, but I just had a hard time believing that she was with him at all.  The tension between Jas and Pete seemed affected.

This story had the lore of Peter Pan, the tingles of first romance that you would expect from a YA, and the thrill of mystery.  The writing had an ethereal quality that makes you feel like your are floating in the ocean.  Overall, I enjoyed it greatly.

4 out of 5 stars

Lily Allen does an amazing job singing Somewhere Only We Know.  The overall feel of this song just seems to fit this story perfectly.

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