Thu, June 26, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Review

Second Star book cover

Second Star book cover

Second Star
By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 248 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

— description

The feelings I got when I read Second Star certainly matched its oceanside, surfer setting. As a reader, I felt like I was caught in a wave, forced underwater, not knowing which way was up.

What is true? What is real? What is happening here?!

Yup, we’ve got a potentially unreliable narrator in Wendy, which made the vibe of the book very disturbing, mysterious and, well, trippy.

I guess I’d compare it to the feeling I got when I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, though I didn’t exactly like that story. Maybe it’s something to do with my love of surfer books (aka Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar) but it worked better for me here.

My problem with the book was more related to the Peter Pan references. I mean, clearly it’s a take on the classic: Her name is Wendy Darling, for goodness’ sake. But it was a little too vague of a reference for me; I almost wish the author had left it out altogether and just said Peter Pan “inspired” her rather than using the names so literally. I found it distracting!

A mixed bag for me, I guess. Has anyone else read this one?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted by: Anna   •   In: alyssa b sheinmel, drugs, family, Uncategorized


  1. sarah/appifanie said:

    Me! I actually liked it – I didn’t expect to, but I did. I couldn’t resist that cover!

    I like that it was all sort of vaguely Peter Pan – Wendy, Pan, Hook, Tink, the lost boys. I thought it was a nice twist – if had been somehow more literal, I think I would have been annoyed.


    Posted on: Thu, June 26, 2014

  2. Pam@YAEscapefromReality said:

    I thought that the premise of this book is interesting, but I just never connected with any of the characters, including Wendy. Maybe it was the fact that it was written in such a dreamlike way that I felt disconnected from everything. Everything moved so fast and I would say I didn’t like Pete (I didn’t like how he kissed Wendy given his relationship with Belle and how he kept things from Wendy) but I feel like I never got to know him. Same with Jas. And such a pointless love triangle. Toward the end I was reeling a bit, and I was so surprised by the twist and appreciating how different it was…when it ended up not being a real twist. In the end, it was interesting, but just ok for me. And other than the names and the fact that Pete is in charge of a bunch of teenage runaways, how is this a reinvention of Peter Pan? Just don’t really see it. So I agree, it was a mixed bag for me as well.


    Posted on: Thu, June 26, 2014

  3. Lisa is Busy Nerding said:

    Yes, definitely a mixed bag. I’m still not sure where I fell on it!


    Posted on: Thu, June 26, 2014

  4. Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide said:

    I read this one and I just didn’t care for it at all. I felt like the Peter Pan connection tried too hard to force things into being and I just never really got on board with where it was going! 🙁


    Anna Reply:

    Ditto! Exactly!


    Posted on: Thu, June 26, 2014

Leave a comment




Comment   Some HTML okay. No links, please.