May 8, 2014

ARC Review--Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

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.

I received this ARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Alyssa B. Sheimel's Second Star is a far cry different from my usual read, but I was totally intrigued with the whole Peter Pan angle! And it's safe to say that the Peter Pan twist was truly original and enjoyable. But yet, I still couldn't quite get into this one all that well. It definitely reminded me why I don't read contemporaries anymore.

Wendy Darling's brothers John and Michael have been gone for 9 months. They were born surfers, so it wasn't unlike them to take off and go surfing for awhile, but they've never been gone this long. Worse yet, it seems everyone has written them off for dead when their surfboards are discovered, battered and completely trashed, and surferless. But Wendy is determined to find them during her last summer before going off to college.

Instead, she finds a surfer boy named Pete (Peter) who's accompanied by the "lost" boys--really just other teen boys who love surfing as well--and then of course there's another girl close to Wendy's age named Belle who's a little bit in love with Pete and doesn't like it when Pete starts turning his attention onto Wendy (sound familiar?). Instead of doing her "investigating" Wendy ends up taking up with Pete and his friends. She learns how to surf and does ask the boys a few questions, trying to lead into where she might be able to find her brothers.

When secrets get let out all around, Wendy leaves Pete's place heartbroken. Then she turns to another surfer who may be the key to helping her find her brothers. Jas (James Hook) though, is a drug dealer of the special drug called fairy dust. The users get totally strung out and forget themselves and addiction, naturally, is pretty common and easy. While Wendy did take it once, just to get access to Jas's party and him, she doesn't turn into a druggie. But soon, her mission does get forgotten, and I think this is where I lose my interest in the story. Wendy forgets her course, her goal. Instead, she's flirting with two boys, one a drug dealer on top of it!

Plus Wendy's behavior in the beginning didn't win many points with me either. She was kind of snotty to her best friend, Fiona who was only concerned with Wendy and how she kept obsessing over where her brothers might be. But it did allow for character growth, Wendy did growing up! It takes awhile to see her progress though.

Although, I do have to say that I enjoyed the bits of the Peter Pan tale that was woven into the story. Alyssa has surfing compared to flying and that when you think of your happiest moment, you can find your inner balance or whatever and ride the wave the way it was meant to be rode! Kudos to that Alyssa! Another enjoyment was when Wendy and Jas went to a club by the name of Jolly Roger!

Plus the romance did become a love triangle. Curse the dreaded triangle. Wendy, naturally falls for Pete but when that budding, possible relationship falls apart before it even starts, she ends up going to Jas. I have to say that I was more fond of Jas. Not because of the whole bad boy angle. Plus he was a drug dealer, let's talk about scary there! But Jas really was a different person. He was honest at least, where Pete had kept a few secrets from Wendy and again, that doesn't score points with me and my book. But for awhile though, I really was torn between the two, Jas just ended up winning because while he may be dangerous, he was honest.

The ending though, really takes you for a spin. I wasn't expecting this angle and I have to say I wasn't too pleased with it for awhile. The "final" ending, you know like the last pages of the last chapter, did make up for it. But I still felt led on. That after this whole book, what did Wendy really accomplish?

Overall the read was okay. I liked the Peter Pan angle the most and that's what drew me to the story in the first place. Did I love it? No, not really. The story will definitely entertain those who enjoy contemporaries, but for me, it just wasn't exciting enough. We had bits of mystery and danger, but it wasn't quite enough to hold to my tastes, but I would still recommend this to anyone who seems intrigued by the story! Definitely for contemp fans if there's something that draws your attention and most definitely for fairy tale fans, especially if you like it to be a story with a fairy tale twist. This is not a retelling, but it's still a rather enjoyable fairy tale likeness.

Overall Rating 2.5/5 stars--note that while I didn't give it a high rating, that's because I'm not much of a contemp reader and this definitely reads as a contemp. It was still a somewhat (for me) enjoyable read. It just wasn't quite my cup of tea. It's still a really good read, just not my kind. Remember this is a review for a contemp book from a paranormal reader!

Second Star releases May 13, 2014


  1. I don't read much YA contemp. either, but for some reason rather than being turned off by this I really got into this one. I knew it had a Peter Pan angle going in though, so maybe it was all in knowing what to expect. The ending wasn't what I was hoping for either, but I liked it for its poignancy.


  2. Yes, this book was definitely more like a contemporary read - I was expecting something a bit fantastical because of the Peter Pan tie in, and there were little hints of that, but not much.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. You are right, I also felt that it is a contemporary read. It wasn't what I was expecting. But I did enjoy the book overall. I know what you mean about "What did Wendy accomplish?" And I felt that the ending was a bit left open. I didn't really like the love triangle part of the story. But I did enjoy the Peter Pan parts.


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