Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

May 5, 2014 Raquel Romero 0 ½

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), NetGalley

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 his 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 J. M. Barrie's classic tale, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up—and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Thoughts

Worries weigh you down. You need to be light enough to fly.

I didnt realize when I first started reading this story that Second Star is a slight, modern adaptation of Peter Pan. I noticed the similarities, of course, but it want until later that I finally got it. With the summer rapidly approaching, beach reads are popping all over the place, among them Second Star. The very definition of a summer read, Second Star makes the beach its home for the majority of the novel. This is the first book Ive read that delves so much into surfing, and while Ive seen movies and TV shows, reading is a whole new experience. More than that, though, is the fantasy tied into this book that truly sets its mark.

Wendy Darling has spent the past seven months wondering where her twin brothers are, refusing to believe that theyre dead. Desperate to find them, she goes on a journey that brings her face-to-face with a fantasy. Now that Ive finished reading Second Star can I appreciate its dream-like quality. I found Wendy as a narrator a little hard to connect with, and perhaps that has a lot to do with her instability. Regardless, I still felt for her loss and the pain she experienced when she finally realized the truth. Despite her coping mechanism, I had to admire Wendys loyalty and dedication in getting her family back together. Even though she was never truly close with her brothers, she still felt it was her responsibility to keep them safeand that is mirrored in every page.

While the synopsis promises a love triangle, and while I could see Pete and Jas appeal, I didnt find Wendys love for them realistic. Once again, now that Ive finished the book, I can see why it ties in so well with its adaptation of the classic tale. Yet while reading, I didnt feel like Wendy had spent enough time with either boy to fall in love with them. Second Stars pace is relatively fast, with days and weeks passing by in a blur, and perhaps Wendy did spend enough time with them. But I couldnt see it, and that made it much more inevitable for me to root for either guy. Furthermore, Second Stars primary objective was in the discovery of Wendys brothers whereabouts, and the addition of Pete and Jas tended to get in the way of that.

Different people cope with tragedy in different ways, and Second Star explores Wendys unique experience. One thing is for sure: Sheinmel leaves us wondering about the reality of Wendys summer, long after the novel ends, and for that I have to congratulate her.

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