Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Second Star.

Sheinmel, Alyssa B.  Second Star.  Macmillan/Farrar Strauss  2014  250p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-374-38267-4  hs   Realistic fiction     VG-BN

This is a unique story of grief, loss and love that pays homage to the classic Peter Pan story of lost boys.  Wendy refuses to accept that the disappearance of her twin brothers while surfing means they are dead.  Her parents have accepted the police report that the brothers could not have survived the wave that washed up their broken surf boards many months ago. Wendy adopts a mission to find her brothers before summer’s end.  She encounters Pete who lives in an abandoned house on the ocean with a few other surfer dudes.  A rival surfer, Jas, has taken over a neighboring house but is known to sell a heady drug named dust to surfers.  Wendy’s loyalties and love switch from Pete to Jas as she travels the coastline looking for people who may have known her brothers.  The joy of surfing, its dangers and its vagabond lifestyle, and the camaraderie among those who follow the waves are eloquently described.  When Wendy wakes up in a psych ward, she finally accepts that Pete and Jas and their crew were a figment of her imagination, and she becomes grounded enough to start her freshman year at Stanford.  The readers are immersed in her anguished mental state throughout the novel and share her hopes and fears.  The ending is totally unexpected and yet satisfying.  The line between reality and fantasy has never been more narrow.

Summary: After two brothers disappear while surfing, their sister, Wendy, goes in search of them.  While searching, she meets surfers Pete, Belle, and Jas. She comes to wonder if they are hallucinations or if they were real.  Part fantasy, part realistic novel. Gr. 8-12.               

Grief-Fiction, Surfing-Fiction, Peter Pan-Fiction           --Lois McNicol

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