Title: Second Star
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
As you probably know, there has been a lot of mixed reviews on this book. For the most part, I've seen some ranting and extreme dislike for it, I've seen some meh reviews, and some that didn't feel too strongly either way, although I haven't seen any that really liked it (if you have, please send them my way!). This is going to be one of those that didn't feel too strongly either way.
I've never really been super into Peter Pan, and I've never been a fan of Wendy. This one definitely did nothing to redeem her character, but although I do agree that she made some very dumb choices, she didn't make the character all that worse for me. Maybe it was because I already went in knowing not to expect much, but by the end, I was left with literally feeling nothing towards the story I just read.
I will say, Sheinmel is an amazing writer. The prose in this story was beautiful, in a way that captivated you from the beginning. Even if you hate the story, her writing is almost enough to keep you reading. It's for this reason that I may try to pick up something else by her and see if I have better luck.
The story itself was unique. I don't think anyone else would have the guts to take Peter Pan and change it the way she did. The synopsis calls it a radical reinvention of a classic, and I would definitely say that it fits that bill. Some might be okay with the way she chose to reinvent this story, others may hate it. For me, this wasn't the part that ruined what could have been an otherwise great story.
The mystery behind the Darling boys and why they were missing was, at first, also a pro. I was interested in why they were missing, and Wendy's fascination with finding them. However, the way this was drawn out, and the final reveal, sort of ruined this.
The characters. That would probably be the biggest thing. None of them had any depth, any reasoning behind anything they did, any reason I would want to keep reading about them. Especially Wendy. Although I can see how losing your two brothers might be traumatizing, nothing she did made sense. In the beginning, she was so focused and serious on finding them, but as soon as she meets Pete and Jas, except for mentioning it here and there, it didn't seem like a lot of searching was going on.
Which leads us to...the love triangle. Hands down the worst part of this. Sure, love triangles are never usually any good, but they can at least be tolerated. This one...not at all. It was just terrible. Nothing about either of the guys made sense. They were honestly both so shady, and I couldn't stand to read about either of them. And Wendy was just dumb when it came to the two of them.
Other than that, I was very meh about the rest of the book. I was confused for a lot of it, and more so in the end. Although I wasn't expecting the twist that did occur, and although it did sort of explain the way Wendy acted for most of the time, it mostly served to just confuse me more. Especially with the twist at the end end. I mean, I'm all for open endings, but this was just more confusion.
I can't honestly say I recommend this book. If you know what you're going into before you read it, you may enjoy it a little better. I know plenty of people who were able to overlook the romance and enjoy the rest of the book. And like I said, Sheinmel's writing is enough to suck you in. So, proceed at your own risk.
I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
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