A common complaint made by people who don't like Young Adult fiction is that they find it inappropriate for young adults. They feel that in some books teenagers are depicted in situations that are too mature or that are not realistic. The other side of that argument, of course, is that teenagers are having these experiences and that reading about them will help them understand it better. Honestly, I've read books that I felt handled these situations well and others that seemed to only be grasping for sensationalism. Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel is one of those books that I felt handled it well. I would love to say more here, but I would hate to spoil it for you.
Inspired by Peter Pan, Second Star follows Wendy Darling as she faces high school graduation and the final summer before college in the wake of her twin brothers' presumed death. John and Michael were surfers who ran away from home to chase waves, but after months of not knowing what has happened to them, it is believed they died in the waves. Wendy refuses to believe they are really gone and decides to search for them on her own. While doing her best to track them down, she meets Pete, Belle and Jas (Hook), other surfers who may have known her brothers.
This is one of those books that leaves the ending open to the reader to decide the outcome. I prefer more defined endings, particularly the happily ever after kind, but that is because I'm a sap and I'm okay with that. Second Star leaves so much up to the reader so I suppose the way each reader interprets it will affect how she feels about it. One thing I wasn't especially crazy about was that this book seemed to contain a lot of what I consider flaws in YA fiction. Do we really need another love triangle or another story where the main character falls in love almost immediately?
There really are a lot of bad decisions made in this book, but for the most part I enjoyed it. Some of it annoyed me, some of it confused me, but still I liked it. I expected light reading and that was what I got. The fact that I'm not sure how much I liked it is a positive, at least in this case. I enjoy being able to continue thinking about the storyline after I've put the book away. If this sounds like something you might like, give it a read and we'll discuss. I'd love to talk this out with someone.