Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Second Star

Title:  Second Star
Series:  None (but there should be with that ending)
Author:  Alyssa B. Sheinmel 
Age Group:  Young Adult
Published:  May 13, 2014 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Source:  A copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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.
My Review:  While Wonderland is obviously my favorite, Neverland also has a special place in my heart.  I've always loved its whimsy and the adventures Peter and the lost boys had!  And, not going to lie, totally had a crush on Peter when I was little.  Both the cartoon and the actor in that real-life Peter Pan movie.  I mean, can you blame me?  

Well, I went into Second Star excited to get another taste of all the things I loved in this story.  Unfortunately, there was hardly anything from the original version woven within this one.  Besides the names the author used, there was actually no similarities whatsoever.  And that wasn't even the thing I had the biggest problem with.  I wanted so badly to love this story but I truthfully did not like it much at all.  *Warning*, there will be minor spoilers in the rest of this review. 

My biggest problem with this novel was the characters.  Every single one of them were bland and flat.  They were like cardboard cutouts of the stereotypical heroine/hero/bad boy in the YA genre.  Wendy was assumed to be very intelligent considering she was going to Stanford, only she made some outrageously stupid decisions.  Like trusting some random dude she just met.  And taking drugs she knew were highly addictive.  And breaking into a person's home.  I just...I did not understand how she excused doing these things.  She was apparently looking for her brothers throughout the entire book but she spent the majority of the time surfing and goofing off with Pete and "the lost boys" and only occasionally remembering what her goal of being with them actually was.  Not to mention she instantly hated any girl that she felt was prettier than her.  Ugh. 

Moving onto Pete.  I had high hopes for this character.  Peter Pan is so complex and there are so many different layers of him to explore.  Unfortunately, none of them were brought out in Pete in this novel.  Instead, we got a shallow boy who had an excuse and a lie for every terrible thing he did that hurt Wendy.  To say I was getting real tired of him and his apparent smooth talking ways is an understatement.  I didn't understand his appeal at all.  Not to mention, it was an insta-love situation between him and Wendy.  We knew absolutely nothing about him besides the fact that he surfed before Wendy was all up on him.  

And then there was Jas a.k.a Captain Hook.  I did not understand his appeal to Wendy either.  He was a drug dealer, creepily watched her without her knowing, and played a role in her her brothers disappearing.  And yet she was just as attached to him as she was to Pete.  They had barely two conversations before she was falling all over him, too.  I just .... I can't with ay of these characters.  We knew nothing about them and they all seemed so bland and fake.   

The plot was, weirdly enough, fast moving and draggy.  Everything was happening at a super fast pace but I had almost no interest in what was happening because it didn't contribute to the supposed overall goal of the story which was to figure out what happened to Wendy's brothers.  Only in the last 3/4s of the book did she actually make an effort to find them.  I will admit though, the writing was very pretty.  The descriptions, though they got a bit much at times, were lovely and painted a nice picture while I read.  

What really sealed the deal with my displeasure in this novel was the ending.  I couldn't even really call it a cliff hanger but it left me feeling supremely unsatisfied.  I turned the page hoping my nook was wrong and I actually had another chapter.  But no.  It just ended.  I can find nothing about a sequel anywhere but I hope that one comes out.  I don't think I would read it but it would make me feel a whole lot better about this story as a whole.     

Second Star is a novel that was said to be a Peter Pen retelling but had little in common to that story.  I didn't make that connection at all.  The characters were boring and annoying, the plot was uninteresting yet fast moving, and the ending left me feeling angry and unsatisfied.  The writing was lovely and there were some seriously pretty descriptions.  While this story wasn't for me, I know other people will definitely like it!

Two Cards


  1. You know what I really hate with some "supposed" retellings? The fact that they're not really retellings at all. Like wit Alice in Zombieland. Just having similar names and the right amount of characters a story does not make. I was looking forward to it as well, since I haven't really seen many Peter Pan retellings but bland characters, just no. The story/plot can be the most interesting thing ever and I'd still be bored if the characters are just ugh. Which they certainly sound like. Such a shame, especially the ending. Why not just end a book properly? I read one recently, (that I can't even remember the name of) that had a cut off ending. I really don't see the point in it. This would've been perfect too, since I'm getting withdrawals from Once Upon a Time right now, boo. :(

    1. Exactly!! I have the first two novels in the Zombieland series but I'm so unmotivated to read the second one because the first one lacked all of the aspects I loved from the original story! And I know exactly what you mean! I need good characters if I want to enjoy a book. I need to have that connection with them, otherwise, I couldn't care less about what's happening!


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