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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 his nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and ...
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 his 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 J. M. Barrie's classic tale, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
“Second Star is gorgeous: at once sun-soaked and haunted, elegant and strange. As perfect a book about loss, love, and California as I can imagine.” —Anna Godbersen, New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe "This retelling of Peter Pan set in the surfing community makes some of its own magic." —Kirkus Reviews "While Barrie's classic transplants neatly to a contemporary surf-culture setting, the parallels come across more as a clever hook than an integral part of the story" -Publishers Weekly
Posted January 28, 2015
This book is for those who love summer (romance) books and/or Peter Pan, or both.
The entire story was a wild ride from beginning to end. Don't let the negative reviews deceive you--the story was beautiful and it was as if I experienced everything Wendy went through. Maybe it's because I live in California myself and I love the beach, but everything felt real and by the end of the story, I was left with the feeling of summer nostalgia.
Imagine having the best dream about going to the beach ever. That's pretty much it.
It was frustrating at some points and there were times when I didn't know who to trust, but maybe that's what made the story feel so real.
But in honesty, it's not the best book ever, but I still believe that it's worth the read. You won't regret it.
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Posted September 13, 2014
I'm not going to lie. I had a major book hangover after reading this. It's a book that has received some very mixed reviews, but sometimes those are my favorite ones. It was much different than I expected. It was a contemporary beach side version of the story of Peter Pan. I really really liked it.
Wendy's brothers went missing months ago, their surf boards found washed up and broken to bits. But Wendy can't accept the idea that her brothers are dead, so she goes searching for them and finds herself at a perfect beach with a bunch of other teens living in some abandoned homes. She meets Pete, Jas, and Belle there.
While this book is a contemporary story and doesn't have magic or actual flying, some things come across as magical. I really liked the way the author explored different possibilities with this story. Maybe Wendy was crazy, maybe she wasn't. I also liked the romance in the book, which is a rare thing for me in the YA category. I liked it because there wasn't a real love triangle, in spite of the jacket description. Wendy falls for two different guys, but not simultaneously.
I liked the characters, especially Pete and Jas. The author captured them in a way that was familiar and new at the same time. I loved the way it ended. It was the perfect ending and made me smile.
Content: Some language, kissing, drug and alcohol use.
Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Posted October 4, 2014
A faint mewling comes from inside the nursery. Willowleap trys to calm them down, but one of the kits: the runt would not stop mewling until a dark brown tabby pads into the nursery "How are you feeling" the cat asks. "Fine thanks for asking Fallenwind." The runt crawls away from her mother "What do you think we should name this one Fallenwind?" Fallenwind looks at the kit with his bright blue eyes "I think Amberkit fits her and the other one should be Musickit." Amberkit slowly drifts off to sleep. When she wakes up she finds herself in a beautiful forest of stars. "What is this place?" She asks to no one in particular "This is Starclan young one." Amberkit spins around to face a calico she-cat "Who are you?" The cat gazes at her with emerald green eyes "I am Oceanstar former leader of Badgerclan and your mother's mother."
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Posted September 29, 2014
This book was hugely disappointing. I still can’t even think about it without the potential for a rage blackout. Peter Pan is my absolute favorite childhood story, so if there is a book/movie/tv show/etc. retelling it, you best believe I am all over it. Imagine my delight when Second Star popped up on my radar. Even after being warned off by several bloggers I trust, my excitement remained. I just love Peter Pan shaped things a lot okay and tend to be pretty forgiving of them. Even if they are horrible (see Once Upon a Time’s Peter Pan storyline) I almost always end up enjoying them regardless of the bad. Unfortunately that was not the case with Second Star. This book was just a hot mess.
The only part of this novel I really enjoyed was the prose. It had the kind of gloriously atmospheric writing I usually happily drown myself in. While there were a few moments where I thought it came off as overly flowery and pretentious, for the most part it was all very beautiful and vivid. The author did an excellent job of setting the scene and making me feel like I was coasting through the southern California summer with Wendy. . My favorite scenes were the ones describing surfing, which made me really want to learn how to surf even though I am the most uncoordinated person in the world. She just made it sound so peaceful and joyful. However the total lack of characterization and horrible, horrible ending overshadowed the delight the writing brought me.
Character development basically non-existent in this novel, and on top of that, the characters are all just really unlikable. Wendy is INFURIATING. While I can definitely sympathize with her grief over the loss of her brothers, she just makes one bad decision after another and it was too much to handle. The other characters were barely memorable enough to mention. I don’t think I can name a single one beyond Pete, Jas and Belle. I know Wendy has a high-school BFF who infuriated me, basically only showing up occasionally to be a horrible friend, but I can’t remember her name to save my life.
As for the romance. I hate love triangles and this one was especially gross. While normally I am always Team Peter/Wendy, I couldn’t get on board with this ship at all. Pete claims to be in love with her but he clearly has no respect for her & her decision making abilities or really for any female in general. The way he treats Belle is reprehensible and he’s such a lying liar who lies with Wendy I can’t deal with it. As bad as he was, Jas (the drug dealer) was worse. He stalked Wendy (which naturally she just saw as him being “protective”), he was violent and gross. Just really really gross. To make it even worse Wendy gets a bad case of instalove with both. Within days of knowing Pete she is in “love” with him & then once she discover his betrayal she runs to Jas who she goes from hating to loving in about two days? Ummm yea how about no girl.
Many nonsensical, bad choices later we get to a twist that I oddly didn’t see coming although it was blatantly obvious. And okay, if the book ended there I could have gone with it, we would have been cool. But naturally it didn’t end there and we get to the real end of the book which in a nutshell made the entire book pointless. I’m not even kidding. The only thing I can guess is that the author couldn’t decide whether she wanted the twist ending or the ending we got so she decided to go with both. I may have actually screamed at the book once I finished and then broke down into hysterical craughing over all the time I wasted on it.
This was definitely not a book for me, nor one that I would ever recommend to anybody.
I received this book for free from the NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Posted July 13, 2014
Posted June 22, 2014
Received an ARC copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Second Star. I'm a sucker for modern day re-imaginings of classic stories and Peter Pan is one of my absolute favorites! I loved the author's writing style. I was instantly drawn in and honestly, did not want to put the book down once I started. The imagery was crystal clear and the dialogue felt fun and natural. Sometimes it veered a little cheesy, but what fantasy doesn't?
Thought the ending was extremely satisfying and the lead characters were compelling. If you're a fantasy/YA fan, you'll definitely enjoy this book!
Posted June 6, 2014
I didn't enjoy reading Second Star, unfortunately. There was so many things that didn't work for me at all and only a couple things that I actually liked.
First of all, there was a love triangle. Now, I usually don't mind romances like that--a lot of times, I've love them--but this one didn't sit well for me. It was too back-and-forth for me. Wendy's feelings for each boy didn't feel developed enough. I also didn't like how quickly she would get together with one guy then get mad at him and walk off, crying. I didn't feel the connections that she had with either Pete or Jas, so it was tough to like any part of the romance.
I didn't care that much for the point of the story (she was searching for her brothers that she refused to believe were dead). It just wasn't a very interesting one for me. Also, a big portion of the book felt uneventful. It seemed like nothing was happening! Not anything big or important, at least--this left me bored with the story.
I actually did like the Peter Pan connections, though. The way the author made details from the original story fit into this modern contemporary was creative.
I didn't like Wendy and I didn't find many qualities that made her seem like a well written character. She oftentimes made big decisions with barely any hesitation or resistance, which seemed odd considering the type of person she was. I didn't connect with her. I didn't feel or believe her emotions most of the time.
Most of the other characters didn't stand out much to me, but weirdly enough, I really liked Jas. Whenever he was in a scene, I suddenly didn't mind the book. I'm not sure why that was. Maybe he was more developed? Maybe he was the only interesting character? There was just something about him that I liked.
Second Star and I were not friends. Sure, it had its bright moments--such a the mystical atmosphere it had despite being a contemporary--but mostly, it didn't go well for me. Would I recommend it? It depends. If you're really excited to read it already, you may have a better experience with it than I did. If you're only somewhat interested and have a thing against love triangles, I would pass it up. There are better books for you to read.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted May 28, 2014
It turns out this book is a loose re-telling of Peter Pan. I haven't read the original book by J.M. Barrie or seen the Disney version in a very long time, which as it turns out it is a good thing. I had seen so many mixed reviews before I started reading, I was worried my views would be unbiased. Honestly, once I started reading, everything faded away and I was completely engrossed in the story.
Saying I enjoyed this book is an understatement. There were moments where my heart was as broken as Wendy's and others where I was flying high, just like she was. It's really hard for me to put a finger on exactly why I enjoyed the book so much. I liked the unknowing of it all and how determined Wendy was to get some answers.
Going back to the Peter Pan reference, as I read I recognized names of characters from the movie and some of the story came back to me. I love how Alyssa Sheinmel took a risk and re-told this classic story in a contemporary setting with teenagers and modern issues. It made for a very interesting and amazing story. There were times when I was wondering, just like Wendy, is this real? Is she imagining things? What happened to her brothers? I just got caught up in Wendy's journey and I wanted her to find the answers to all her questions.
I was really torn between Jas and Pete. Just when I thought I had them figured all out, something happened and I was left with new information to process. Although I loved the way the book ended, I would love for Alyssa to write another book featuring Wendy. I'd love to know what happens to her, Jas, and Pete, and everyone else I met in Second Star.
If you're a literary purist, then you may not like this book. However if you love a well written story that will hook you, keep you entertained, and guessing about what'll happen next, I think Second Star is a great book to pick up.
Posted May 24, 2014
As a huge fan of re-tellings, it's no surprise that I was very eager to get my hands on this one! And once I did, I "dived" into it ready to see how it tied into the fairy tale. There were some things I really liked, but there were also somethings I wasn't really impressed with.
"They can't have gone far. They would never leave the ocean."
I actually really liked the writing in this one. I'm not sure why, but I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I thought it would be more YA-ish. That may sound like non-sense, but I don't know what else to say. But unfortunately, it stopped being pretty as the story went on. It was no where near the same level when I finished the book as when I started it.
"Asleep I can still feel the waves lapping against my body. In the morning, my sheets are heavy with the scent of the sea."
Sheinmel had almost every aspect of the Peter Pan story completely mapped out. The flying, the Lost Boys, the fairy dust (that I'm a little upset about...), and Wendy, Belle, Pete, John, and Michael. I just thought it was a really cute story. Besides the fairy dust. I get it kids are kids, but to have that person be a major character in the end, and have no sign of change? I didn't like that. (Btw, does anyone know if Jas is supposed to be Hook? lol) And knowing the ending to Peter Pan made me figure out how this would end, but I still liked it. I was expecting it to happen, but not in the way it did.
"Reality has never been so crystal clear. "
In the middle of the story, I was a little bored though. It was basically a lot of repetition in the story and after a while I just got tired of reading the same thing over and over. I just feel like it was short, but it still could have been a little shorter.Which made the characters get on my nerves. They kept doing the same things over and over. I completely understand the drive behind Wendy's actions, but that doesn't change the fact that it got annoying after awhile. As for Pete I applaud him on his stand against the "fairy dust," but his story was the same too. He kept taking them in and kicking them out. And their romance? Yeahhh, they had barely met so there wasn't really a romance. They just started kissing. And then almost right after that she started kissing someone else. Romance was non-existent lol
"Who knew surfers were such meteorologists."
All in all, I liked the story and the writing, but the actually story line wasn't for me. I did like the writing style, but it wasn't consistent and I didn't like that. The only thing that really worked for me was the re-telling aspect.
Posted May 15, 2014
This book was a crazy read for me. From the very first chapter, I was drawn in. It immediately had my attention. I think Alyssa B. Sheinmel is a fantastic writer, and I'm so glad to have discovered her through this book. It is a book that I'm glad to have read.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the characters, I enjoyed the writing. Since I have no experience with Peter Pan, I'm in no position to say if fans of that fairy tale will like it. But I do think that fans of romances that feel real will enjoy this one.
**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Alyssa B. Sheinmel and NetGalley.
Posted May 15, 2014
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 from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Posted May 14, 2014
A light and quick read, looks into the story of loss and redemption in the surf community in the Pacific West. Wendy Darling is morning her lost twin brothers who have been missing the last six months. In a desperate attempt to find them she learns how to connect to the magic that drew them away.
A good story for young readers to learn about death, life and finding purpose
Posted May 13, 2014
I found this novel to be a very interesting rendition of Peter Pan, taking place on the oceanside instead of Neverland. Initially, I wasn’t sure I really liked the story. Wendy is wishy-washy, and while I was completely on her side in the hunt for her missing brothers, her tactics drove me crazy. Wendy just can’t seem to make up her mind–she loves Peter, she loves James. She loves Peter again, then back to James… and I was a little miffed with her back and forth “love affair,” secrets, and deceeits along the way. It actually wasn’t until Sheinmel threw in a twist near the very end of the novel that my perspective of the story changed, but change it did. The love story suddenly made sense, and every aspect that I previously had held qualms about dissipated. Yet one more reason that I insist on finishing every book I start—you never know what the author is going to throw your way.
Now, I’m not a surfer girl, and this novel definitely revolves around the sport and is what ties the entire story together from the get go. But, it also deals with a lot more than just surfing, such as drug use, which I found fascinating and little bit jarring since this is a modern Peter Pan.
Yes, it’s still a YA read, and no, I didn’t think the drug aspect was overpowering. There was actually a good message that went along with it, and though I never thought of Captain Hook as a drug dealer, well… Sheinmel fits it all together quite nicely, and I really loved how she tied in the Witch Tree, Fairy Dust, and flying from the fairytale to make it realistic and present day.
Overall, Second Star was indeed very well done, and I just can’t get over the ending that turned everything on its head–giving readers something to really mull over in terms of facts, and that, in truth, is what really made this novel for me.
Posted May 13, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
I'm going to be completely honest - I'm not entirely familiar with the story of Peter Pan. I never read the book(s) or heard the story when I was a little kid, or watched the movie, or anything. I don't know the story. I know names, like Wendy, Peter, Tinkerbell, etc., but I couldn't tell you how one person was connected to another. All that being said, I couldn't tell you how this book measured up against the original Peter Pan. What drew me into this book was the gorgeous PURPLE cover, and the whole "dark magic" bit in the synopsis.
Obviously, I'm disappointed with this book, which is unfortunate. There were a few redeeming qualities of this book. Probably the only thing I REALLY enjoyed about this book was the mystery behind it all - where did Wendy's brothers go? I don't know how the story shapes up in the original Peter Pan, so I didn't know what to expect. I was engrossed in the mystery of their disappearances, so I read furtively to find out what happened. Granted, I was disappointed, in the way the author handled the reveal of everything, but she had me going for a while there.
I don't have much else to say, sadly. Stay tuned for my dislikes. There might be a lot of them.
What I Did Not Like:
I had many problems with this book, but one of them was the confusion. I was confused at the beginning of the book. I was confused as I was reading (though I hoped that everything would clear up by the end of the book, so I kept reading). I was confused even by the ending, much to my disappointment. I feel like nothing was fully explained in the end, which makes me so irritated. I guess the author was going for a mysterious, open-ended ending, but there IS a such thing as TOO open-ended. Like, you can't leave everything up to the reader's imagination. I had no idea what to think, when the book ended. It didn't help that I wasn't entirely familiar with the original story of Peter Pan, but I feel like I still should have been able to read this book as an original story, and understand SOMETHING.
I was NOT a huge fan of Wendy. She seemed extremely unbalanced and empty-headed, in my opinion. She made some ridiculous decisions that no stable person would have made. Who runs away from their parents' house, to live in a rundown house with other teenagers (STRANGERS), who have no money, no electricity, no education, no job, etc.? Now, does that seem reasonable? Rational? Understandable? HECK NO! No middle-class, USA-born, spoiled teenager in their right mind would give up a steady life, with, um, TECHNOLOGY, just like that. Not plausible, not believable.
I also didn't like any of the other characters. Pete, Jas, Belle, Hugo (or was it Hugh?) - I wasn't a fan of any of them. They seemed very not normal, for teenagers. Okay, I know, that was the point, but something about all of them rubbed me the wrong way. Basically, I didn't like anybody in this book.
The romance was SO WEIRD. I didn't like that there was a love triangle, but I especially didn't like how brainless Wendy acted around both of them. Just lust after both of them and go after both of them physically, why don't you? Her reaction to the two of them was so off, and it bothered me. Weird. Weirdddd.
I already mentioned being confused. The plot was confusing. The structure of this book was weird. The only thing that I understand concretely was that everyone declared Wendy's brothers "gone", but she refused to believe that they were dead, and so she decided to search for them. Honestly, the search was really sketchy and half-a**ed, but I legitimately wanted to know how things went down. Hence the two stars.
I think I'm in a state of apathy, when it comes to this book. I finished it and closed and it now I can barely remember what I read (and I just read it last night). So, eh, it gets two stars, but it wasn't great at all.
Would I Recommend It:
Ehh, no, not at all. Not unless you like a healthy dose of confusion. I'm not entirely sorry I read this one, because I remember being intrigued by this book in January, but I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I had known beforehand that it would be confusing and difficult to follow. I don't have time to waste on books that won't even read well, unfortunately!
1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. Maybe because the cover is gorgeous. Maybe because I really wanted to like this story. This book really wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean that you won't like it! If you had your hopes up for this one, make sure you still read it (unless you're completely convinced otherwise). Just, like, borrow it from the library or something. I wouldn't buy it or pre-order it. But don't pirate it either - that's just cruel, people.
Posted April 5, 2014
When I read that it was loosely based on Peter Pan, I couldn't wait to read it. Who wouldn't love reading about Peter Pan, right? Well….this book wasn't what I expected. I guess I expected more of things more Neverlandy.
The whole point of Wendy meeting Pete and everyone else is because she was looking for her brothers. A lot of the time, she forgot about them because she was so caught up in the world of surfing and Pete. The time she was focus on her brothers was when she was hanging with the “big bad drug dealer” Jas.
I thought the book was alright. I liked most of it but I am so confused on it. I don’t like leaving off on a book with confusing thoughts. I don’t know what is and what isn't. Is this it of the book or is there going to be more to explain? I just don’t know. I don’t like to interpret what the author is trying to get through.
Posted May 14, 2014
No text was provided for this review.