This retelling of Peter Pan set in the surfing community makes some of its own magic.
Wendy Darling, just out of high school, can’t forget her twin 16-year-old brothers, John and Michael, who disappeared nine months ago. Police finally find their damaged surfboards, which convinces their parents that they must be dead, but Wendy can’t believe it. Unable to deal with the grief, she becomes determined to find them and stumbles upon an almost-magical beach, with pure white sand and endless, perfect waves. There she meets Pete, who gives her a surfing lesson that feels like flying. Pete lives with his friends, including the jealous Belle, in an abandoned home on the nearby cliff, feeding them by theft. Living in another house on the cliff is Jas, Pete’s former friend, who has become a dealer in “fairy dust” and now poses a serious threat. Convinced Jas knows where her brothers went, Wendy crashes a party at his house, after which Jas teams up with her to try to find the missing boys. Sheinmel works her ambiguous fantasy with skill, staying mostly within the framework of the Peter Pan story until she pairs up Jas and Wendy. Readers familiar with the source will appreciate it most, but there’s enough meat to sustain those who are not; abundant emphasis on surfing lends the story a distinct atmosphere.
An absorbing new look at a familiar tale. (Mystery. 12-18)