Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

April 17, 2014 Reviews 6

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Second Star
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux
on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Retelling, Romance, YA, Young Adult


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 Pete's 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 a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

When I read the synopsis for Second Star, I was super excited to read it. Peter Pan retelling? HECK YEA! Hook/Wendy/Peter love triangle? Uhm, YES! But sadly, I did not forsee the signs that this book was not for me.

First, the surfing. This book has so much surfing, beachtime fun and other things I dislike in it. The cover is people on surfboards and yet I did not put together the fact that this book has surfing in it. I really really should have known better, THE SYNOPSIS EVEN SAYS IT. But before you start ranting to me, let me explain. I am not a beach person. I hate hot weather (I get uncomfortable when sweaty-gross) and sand annoys me. It gets EVERYWHERE. So the beach setting is not for me but it does make Second Star a perfect summer read.

Second, the love triangle. I knew there was a love triangle going into this book. I knew that I have always hated love triangles in the past yet for some reason, I thought this love triangle would be better. Boy, I WAS SO WRONG. There is one problem with the love triangle and it is JAS. Oh Jas, how I loathe thee. I can’t for the life of me see why Wendy was somewhat crazy about you. Seriously, I do not understand it. To help prove my point, I am including some quotes. Note: Quotes are not final and may change in the final copy. See the final copy for more accuracy.

First, Jas watches Wendy surfing when she is all alone. This is a violation of privacy and should deeply disturb Wendy (and it sure disturbed me):

“I should feel violated. The guy was spying on me every morning when I thought I was alone, every time I took my board out while Pete, Belle, and the rest of the boys slept. But I don’t; instead, I’m kind of glad he was there.” (eARC page 115)

This makes no sense to me. Why does is she glad he’s there? WHY?! Because let’s not forget, his personality is just SUPER GREAT:

“Jas has a gift for making me feel like I’m the bad guy. And maybe I am; he didn’t owe me anything and yet he came to my window last night and brought me here.”  (eARC page 123)

So this guy also makes her feel bad? That’s super! And last but not least- the icing on the grand cake of boyish doom:

“Staying home meant going to Montana, landlocked a million miles away from Kensington Beach, and maybe from my brothers, too. Yes, this guy is a drug dealer; who knows how much money he’s made off of selling dust to unsupecting kids, getting them hooked, ruining lives- if not ending them? A lot, I think, judging from the quality of his truck, the number of boards in the flatbed behind us. But he’s offered to help, and I’m not about to refuse.” (eARC page 116)

So here is what we know about Jas now; he’s a drug dealer, he makes Wendy feel guilty when she’s done nothing wrong and he violated her privacy. These facts make me uncomfortable with Jas (even though he is Captain Hook in this retelling) and it makes me question the whole purpose of a love triangle. I don’t understand what makes him swoon-worthy material for Wendy. His blue eyes? That seems to be one of his main highlights. He technically also did help Wendy when no one else would which earns him SOME brownie points but everything else annoyed me too much and I couldn’t get past it.

Despite my reservations about Jas and some personal hatred towards surfing, I still enjoyed reading some of this book. The writing style was great and I loved how it flowed but the plot of the book was SO inconsistent. It felt like the book kept changing at random moments. It was first a book about finding lost brothers, then about friendships and drama THEN about romance, more lost brothers and then a love triangle. It was too inconsistent for me! I also really enjoyed Wendy’s personality. I’m not saying I liked Wendy’s decisions (especially romance-wise) but I did like that she was strong-headed and that she wouldn’t give up easily.

Overall, I think this book was well-written but somewhat inconsistent. I liked Wendy but her decisions irked me and her choices in love interests were very questionable. I think this book would work for a nice summer read but sadly, Second Star isn’t for me.

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6 Responses to “Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel”

  1. Nikki

    I so completely agree with you on this one, Shelley. My review is actually scheduled for Friday! I rated it 2.5, giving a little more weight to the gorgeous writing and setting (there we differ – I loved all the surfing and beach stuff, lol). But we make quite a few of the same points about Jas — in fact, I definitely used one of the same quotes as you. XP This one was so disappointing overall though. I just wanted an awesome Peter Pan retelling with a GOOD love triangle between Peter and Wendy and Hook, is that so much to ask??? ;_;
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  2. Pili

    Hmmm, your review just highlighted all the reasons I thought I wouldn’t like this book, which reinforces my resolution of skipping it. The biggest one, the love triangle. Why would anyone insist on adding a love triangle between Peter Pan, Wendy & Hook? I’m just confused there!
    Retellings are my fave thing either, so I tend to be wary of them in general…

    Great review, Shelly!
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  3. Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

    I love retellings and a Peter Pan one would definitely be awesome. The love triangle described in the book’s description makes this a no for me. Especially since he’s a drug dealer. I wouldn’t find participating in illegal activities attractive at all lol.
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  4. Emily

    Ouch. >< I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one Shelly!! 🙁 Love-triangles to me either work or no, but this one sounds like it definitely WON'T! :O I think Peter Pan is definitely one of the most awesome boys ever invented (the original Peter Pan), and I like retellings and different takes on him (Once Upon A Time *O*), but honestly I don't think the illegal activities in this book will get past me, and I have a feeling I may become mildly disturbed by them 🙁
    But great review, Shelly!! 😀 <3
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