Sunday, June 1, 2014

Second Star (review)

4/5 stars

Second Star (Goodreads | Amazon) is a book I had to read.  Since childhood, I have loved all things Peter Pan. In adulthood that love has only increased.  Maybe it's the idea of not having to face adulthood or maybe it's the misleading innocence of this magical island with no adults.

I'm not sure what I expected from a Peter Pan retelling, maybe more magic, but Second Star is a dreamy sort of contemporary that toes the line with magical realism (or maybe has an unreliable narrator).  It's a book filled with uncertainties, stemming mainly from the main character of Wendy Darling who is struggling the disappearance,and presumed death, of her two brothers.

It's a book about coping and not coping with loss as we follow Wendy on the journey to find Michael and John that leads her to a hidden beach where she meets Peter, Belle and all of the familiar faces from the original Peter Pan. In this novel some of them are more fleshed out, made human for the contemporary setting.  Instead of a lost island, we get a little beach with perfect waves filled with runaway young surfers.

If this story had a weak spot it was the Hook/drug storyline.  I don't want to give too much away but what happens here detracts from a otherwise intriguingly original storyline.  For me, I just can't buy the choices Wendy makes even if I understand the reason she supposedly makes them.

What keeps this novel from falling apart with the dodgy romance and the Hook storyline is the writing and Wendy's grief.  I bought her desperation when I did not buy her actions which pulled me through the weaker sections.  Overall this felt dreamy, moody and was an interesting take on the Peter Pan storyline.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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