Second Starby 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… See more details below
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.
Offering more psychological drama than magic, this modern rendition of Peter Pan traces Wendy’s quest to find her brothers, John and Michael, months after their broken surfboards are retrieved from the ocean. Refusing to believe her brothers have drowned, Wendy travels the California coast to search for them, a journey that leads her to a beach community of abandoned houses. One side of the beach is ruled by squatter Pete, who lives with his band of carefree looters; the other half belongs to drug dealer Jas, who has lured away some of Pete’s friends with his potent “fairy dust.” Both boys may hold clues to what happened to Wendy’s brothers. Blurring the lines between villains and heroes, truth and (perhaps drug-induced) illusion, Sheinmel (The Stone Girl) offers an intriguing premise and a dramatic portrayal of an unstable, grief-stricken teen. However, 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. Ages 12–up. Agent: Josh Bank and Joelle Hobeika, Alloy Entertainment. (May)
“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
Gr 9 Up—In a contemporary version of Peter Pan set on California beaches, Wendy Darling goes in search of her brothers Michael and David just after her graduation from high school. Although they've been missing for nine months and are presumed drowned, Wendy believes that her brothers became hooked on "Fairy Dust" and ran away to surf. She stumbles into a hidden cove, where a community of runaway teens lives in abandoned houses with their leader, Pete, and his possessive sidekick, Belle. Pete teaches Wendy to "fly" on a surfboard, and she soon falls in love with surfing and with him. When Wendy learns that Pete kicked her brothers out of the idyllic community for using drugs, she turns to his nemesis, the dealer who sold them their first taste of fairy dust, Jas. Together, they run away in the middle off the night to surf an epic wave and hopefully find the twins. Although references to J. M. Barrie's classic tale abound, this is no children's story, with two steamy romances and prevalent drug use. Its ambiguous ending may leave some readers unsatisfied, but it is in the spirit of this magical tale about never wanting to grow up.—MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY
This retelling of Peter Pan set in the surfing community makes some of its own magic. Wendy Darling, just out of high school, can't forget her twin 16-year-old brothers, John and Michael, who disappeared nine months ago. Police finally find their damaged surfboards, which convinces their parents that they must be dead, but Wendy can't believe it. Unable to deal with the grief, she becomes determined to find them and stumbles upon an almost-magical beach, with pure white sand and endless, perfect waves. There she meets Pete, who gives her a surfing lesson that feels like flying. Pete lives with his friends, including the jealous Belle, in an abandoned home on the nearby cliff, feeding them by theft. Living in another house on the cliff is Jas, Pete's former friend, who has become a dealer in "fairy dust" and now poses a serious threat. Convinced Jas knows where her brothers went, Wendy crashes a party at his house, after which Jas teams up with her to try to find the missing boys. Sheinmel works her ambiguous fantasy with skill, staying mostly within the framework of the Peter Pan story until she pairs up Jas and Wendy. Readers familiar with the source will appreciate it most, but there's enough meat to sustain those who are not; abundant emphasis on surfing lends the story a distinct atmosphere. An absorbing new look at a familiar tale. (Mystery. 12-18)
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By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Farrar, Straus and GirouxCopyright © 2014 Alloy Entertainment and Alyssa B. Sheinmel
All rights reserved.
I can smell the bonfire before I even get out of the car. It's dusk, and the sun is low on the water. According to my watch, it's been exactly four hours since I officially graduated high school. But I don't feel any more grown-up now than I did this morning.
I leave my shoes in the car and step onto the beach. "Congratulations," I say to no one in particular, to whichever of my classmates are close enough to hear. I've never heard the same word so many times in one day.
Fiona's voice rings above the crowd as she runs toward me. Fiona has always had the loudest voice, the biggest laugh. Even in kindergarten, it got us into trouble sometimes. Her arms fly around my waist and we both go crashing to the ground.
I sit up quickly, crossing my legs beneath me, and Fiona rests her chin on my shoulder. The brush of her strawberry blond hair raises goose bumps on my bare arm. My own dark hair is pulled into a tight ponytail at the nape of my neck.
Fiona shrugs with the ease of a girl who knows her boyfriend won't stay away long. "Around."
I remember how they looked at graduation this afternoon. I was sitting on the stage, in the section for those graduating with honors, so it was easy to look down on the crowd and pick out Fiona. Dax kept his arm around her shoulder the entire time, even though it was sweltering hot underneath our caps and gowns.
Fiona grabs my hand with a laugh and pulls me to stand. "Your fingers are icy."
From behind us a voice says, "Let me see."
I can feel Dax's touch before I see him. I try not to shiver when he takes both my hands in his, brings them to his mouth, and blows.
"Man," he says, "you are ice-cold, girl."
Yes, I think, that's me. The ice princess who lives in the glass house on the hill. The girl who closes her door to write her college essays while her parents are talking to the police in the living room.
"I'm okay." I pull my hands away and fold my arms across my chest. "Really."
"Let's get you close to the fire," he says, ignoring my protests.
"I'm really not cold," I argue as he tries to pull me away, making a path among the kids gathered around the bonfire. Instead of following, I turn to face the water, my back to my friends. A group of boys are paddling out among the waves.
"Surfers," I whisper. I didn't mean to say the word out loud. My brothers started surfing when they were ten years old, the two littlest surfers on the beach. And the two most determined. Now I watch strangers surf, boys who remind me of John and Michael, bobbing up and down between the waves, shouting to each other, pointing to the spaces where the water breaks, paddling out and then drifting back.
"Wendy," Fiona says gently, "you know they're not out there, right?"
I try to ignore the shiver of anger that runs down my spine at her words. They're out there, I think, somewhere.
"You okay?" Fiona puts her arm around me, and I fight the urge to shrug it off. She is just trying to find the right thing to say; everyone always tries to find the right thing to say. As if there were any words that could make it better.
My brothers disappeared nine months ago, just as the school year was beginning. The police searched for them, but even I could see that it was a halfhearted investigation. They didn't think much of a couple kids running off to the beach for a few days, a few weeks, a few months.
At first, my parents called the station every day, insisting on talking to the detective in charge, trying to explain that their boys were different from all the other teenage runaways. But the police had seen this story play out too many times. They had murder suspects to hunt, thieves to catch. Two sixteen-year-olds on a joyride up the coast was hardly enough to hold their attention.
I still remember the last time I saw Michael and John. They had packed up their favorite surfboards and their wet suits for some early waves, just like they did every morning. There was still sand glinting in their hair from the previous day's surf. They never got it all out, no matter how many times they washed their hair. John had been driving, and I imagined I could hear Michael urging him to hurry as they pulled out of the driveway without a backward glance.
I close my eyes at the memory and take a deep breath. I feel closest to them when I'm near the water.
Dax moves to stand between me and Fiona, putting an arm around my shoulders and taking Fiona's hand. I've tried to figure out how Dax automatically became my friend the minute he started dating Fiona, but I have no idea. Maybe there's some unspoken rule about best friends' boyfriends that I don't know about because I've never had a real boyfriend myself. The heat that radiates from Dax's body makes me uncomfortable.
"I left my phone in the car," I lie. "I'll be right back."
But I don't even bother walking to the parking lot. Once I'm sure Fiona and Dax are no longer watching, I make my way to the water's edge, the waves lapping against my toes, higher and higher as the tide comes in. The sun has set completely now.
In the distance I can just make out the silhouette of a boy on a surfboard. He floats between the waves, patient while he waits to take a ride. It's dark now, and he's the only surfer left on the water. But he doesn't look scared. The air around him is bright, like the stars are following him, his very own spotlight.
He makes it look easy, paddling in between the waves and shifting into a crouch. I inhale sharply when he jumps up to stand. It looks like he's floating over the water. It looks like he's flying.
Without thinking, I take another step, even though the hem of my dress is growing heavy with salt water. I move deeper and deeper, closer and closer. The water rises with a gentle touch, the sea wrapping its cool arms around me. I close my eyes and just listen to the waves: rising and crashing, rising and crashing.
But then there is the sound of someone splashing into the water and the feel of a strong hand encircling my arm.
"Are you okay?"
I blink. The surfer is in the water next to me, his board bobbing a few feet away.
"What were you thinking?" he shouts. He puts an arm around me and starts pulling me to shore, letting go only when we've reached the shallows. Water drips from the ends of his dark hair down his face. Even in the darkness I can see that his skin is covered with freckles.
I shake my head in confusion. I wasn't thinking. I didn't even realize how deep I'd gone in. I just wanted to get a closer look. I'm surprised to feel that the tips of my hair, my shoulders, even the underside of my chin, are wet.
"My board could have hit your head," he says, just loudly enough to be heard over the waves. "It's a good thing I saw you."
"I'm sorry," I reply.
"Nothing to be sorry for," he says, shaking his head. "Just be more careful next time." He's so tall that water from his shaking head falls down on me like raindrops.
"Next time," I repeat, but he's already released my arm from his light grasp.
And then he's gone.CHAPTER 2
I'm lying on the beach, gazing out at the water, when I hear Dax and Fiona calling my name. I turn around and see them running toward me, kicking up sand with every step.
"What took you so long?" Fiona says, out of breath. "I thought you were just going to get your phone." She reaches for me, then pulls back suddenly. "Why are you soaking wet?"
"I'm fine," I say, brushing some of the sand from my damp skin. "He saved me."
"Who?" Dax says, wrapping his fingers around my upper arm and pulling me to a stand.
"The surfer who got me out of the water."
"Who got you out of the water?" Fiona's voice sounds desperate. "What were you doing in the water?"
I turn back to the ocean, even though the boy and his surfboard are long gone. "He left," I say, shrugging.
Without even seeing it, I can sense Fiona shooting a look at Dax over my head.
"Don't do that." I shake my head, irritated. People have been giving me that same worried, nervous expression for months, to my face and behind my back. Teachers, when I turned my papers in, not just on time, but early. Police officers, when I dropped off missing persons fliers in their precincts. Did they think I didn't notice it? That I didn't know what it meant?
"It has nothing to do with John and Michael," I say suddenly, surprised at how harsh my voice sounds. I turn to Dax. "You can let go of me now. I'm not going anywhere."
"I think we should take you home," Dax says, the words coming slowly. "You need to get out of those wet clothes."
"You know, just because you're my best friend's boyfriend doesn't mean you can tell me what to do."
Dax finally releases my arm.
"Wendy," Fiona says gently, resting her dry hand on my wet skin.
I shake my head. "I can take myself home," I say, shrugging off Fiona's soft touch and turning to walk to the parking lot.
"What's gotten into you?" Fiona asks.
I spin to face her. "Who are you to tell me that they aren't out there?" I say, and my voice sounds rough, as though the sand has stuck to my tongue and caught in my throat.
"I didn't mean ..." Fiona pauses. She looks at Dax, not at me.
"Sure you did," I say, and I wonder where the certainty in my voice is coming from when I add, "But they are out there. I know they are."
* * *
The last time the police visited our house was three months ago.
"You better sit down," the officers had said to my parents. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to sit down, too. But I wasn't about to miss a word they said, so I stood by the kitchen counter listening as the officers spoke.
There had been a major swell somewhere up the coast this winter, they said. Surfers had come from all over the world, lured by the promise of record-breaking waves all along northern California, from Pebble Beach to Monterey to Santa Cruz. But conditions had been bad: it was raining, water temperatures were low. Three surfers went missing that day, the police said. Only one body had been found. Spectators recalled that the missing surfers had been young—no more than teenagers—and someone heard that they were from Newport Beach.
One of the officers nodded to the other, who got up wordlessly from our kitchen table and walked out the front door. I was tempted to follow him, but I kept myself planted by the kitchen counter. He didn't even bother closing the door behind him, and when he came back in, he was struggling under the weight of two surfboards. The remains of two surfboards.
"Do these look familiar to you?" he asked.
My mother's only answer was to burst into tears; my father said nothing. The boards were destroyed; it was more like two-thirds of one board and less than half of another. On one, the foot straps were torn in half. The very things that were supposed to keep the surfer's feet tethered to his board had betrayed him.
Since then, my parents have been acting as though they're positive that Michael and John were the two nameless drowned surfers. The police certainly believed it; the search had stopped, and I pictured my brothers' files stamped with the words CASE CLOSED. Our family mourned as surely as if there had been bodies to lay inside caskets, coffins to lower into the ground.
But I was never so sure. I sat at my computer and searched for images from the swell, pictures and videos of surfers in the rain, in the fog, tumbling between the crashing waves. I didn't see my brothers anywhere.
* * *
I'm still soaked as I slide open the door of my house. My mother's car will be sandy and mildewed in the morning. At least I don't have to worry that my parents will have waited up for me. They go to bed earlier every night and sleep later each morning.
My dog bumps my hip with her nose when I open the door, sniffing at the salt water on my clothes. "Hey, Nana. Nothing to get worked up about," I whisper. "Just a surfer in the water." I stroke the soft spot between her ears. "And that's as much of an explanation as you'll get from me tonight."
She follows me down the hall behind the dining room to the bedrooms. The glass house has cool tile floors, and Nana licks up the water that drips from my dress.
In my bedroom, I leave my dress on the floor and climb into bed. Nana leaps up beside me. My room isn't dark, not even when I turn out all the lights. It never really gets dark in a house with glass walls, propped on top of a hill, looking out over the city. The city lights keep the house bright; I've never slept in darkness. When we were little, my mother told my brothers and me that the lights from the city were our own night-lights, there to watch over us and keep us safe. The three of us believed in our mother's night-lights the way other kids believed in Santa Claus.
The tips of my hair are still wet. Maybe it's the salt water drying on my skin, but I feel closer to my brothers tonight than I have any other night since they left. I can almost hear the laughter coming from their bedroom across the hall, almost see the surfboards they'd leave propped by the front door every night, just waiting to take the waves in the morning.
I get up and walk to the window, looking down at the city lights I know by heart and the dark horizon of the ocean beyond. I picture the waves crashing on mile after mile of empty shoreline, bonfires burned down to ash, nothing but the moon and the stars left to light up the beach.
There are secret spots only surfers know. Places that the police can't find and where my parents wouldn't have looked. I heard John and Michael whispering once about a hidden cove.
Out loud, I say, "They can't have gone far. They would never leave the ocean."
I take a deep breath like I'm about to dive underwater and get back into bed. My heart is racing as though I've just discovered something. My eyelids grow heavy, but a thought works its way into the space between sleeping and waking: If I search hard enough, I will find them.
I expect to dream about John and Michael, but instead I dream about the boy I saw on the water, the boy riding the perfect wave under the stars. Asleep, I can still feel the waves lapping against my body. In the morning, my sheets are heavy with the scent of the sea.CHAPTER 3
I shower early the next morning, Dried salt water dissolving under soap, spinning down the drain. My hair dries stick-straight down my back, and I take my time getting dressed. I'm not sure what exactly I should wear for a day of driving up and down the coast, looking for two missing surfers. Finally, I pick a bathing suit and a long cover-up.
A text message from Fiona distracts me: Wanna go to the beach?
Perfect, I write back enthusiastically.
In the kitchen, my parents stand by the coffeemaker. My father is half-dressed; my mother is still in pajamas. Have they noticed that the color has drained from their wardrobes recently? They've taken to wearing only shades of gray. Even my mom's bathrobe has faded from its former bright yellow, like she washed it too many times.
"Morning," I say. I take a bowl of cereal to the table, and Nana rests her head in my lap.
My parents seem even more exhausted today than they usually do. Celebrating my graduation and seeing all of my classmates yesterday probably took a lot out of them. They each pour an enormous cup of coffee.
"Good morning, sweetie," Mom says, placing a coffee mug on the table and sitting down beside me. Her eyes are only half-open.
Not like the boy from last night. His eyes were open wide, like maybe he saw more than everyone else did.
"There were surfers at the bonfire last night," I say suddenly.
I jump when my father, still standing by the coffeemaker, slams his hand down on the counter. Nana's head pops up from my lap, and I stroke her ears to assure her that everything's okay.
"They shouldn't allow that," Dad says angrily. "Kids surfing after dark. Don't they know how dangerous it is?"
My mother nods her head in sleepy agreement. "I think I need a little more sleep," she says with a weak smile. When she stands, she leans her palm on my own as though my hand is simply part of the table. The grain of the wood is rough under my skin.
When she's gone, Dad says, "You upset her."
"I'm sorry," I say, shaking my head.
"Don't talk about surfers anymore," he adds, his voice without inflection, bringing his milky coffee to his lips. He used to take it black, but since the boys disappeared he started adding milk and sugar. I don't think he can stomach anything bitter these days.
Excerpted from Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Copyright © 2014 Alloy Entertainment and Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Alyssa Sheinmel was born in California and now lives in New York City. She is also the author of The Stone Girl and two previous YA novels.
Alyssa B. Sheinmel was born in California and now lives in New York City. She is the author of Second Star, The Stone Girl, The Lucky Kind, and The Beautiful Between.
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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.
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.
Second Star was a thrilling romance full of excitement and adventure. I would recommend it to many young readers, although some may get bored with it. This novel is a retelling of the well-known story of Peter Pan in the modern world. You are introduced to Wendy, a modern-day girl who decides to go on a search for her brothers whom had gone missing. She thinks that they have gone on a search for the biggest, baddest waves to surf, as they loved surfing, and therefore begins to travel along the California coast to find them. The story follows her as she falls for two separate men who symbolize Peter Pan and Captain Hook. This is obviously a romance novel, but it isn’t your ordinary classic love story. This book incorporates action, a love-triangle, and mystery. The whole purpose of Wendy’s quest is not lost on her and she remains desperate to solve the mystery of where her brothers could be and if they were okay. The reader is also kept on their toes with rivalries between Jas and Pete, and their competitive efforts to gain Wendy’s affections. Therefore, fear not! This isn’t a love story that will bore you. However, the idea of the story itself may become tiresome. This was one aspect of the book that I wasn’t particularly fond of, I mean was this really a creative idea? There are so many different takes of Peter Pan, this just being a drop in the lake. However, the author did add many twists and turns to the story and made it mean more than just the story of Peter Pan. It was cool to see how she changed the tale, although because of its nature the book could get a little predictable and you were biased towards Pete going into it just because Jas (Captain Hook) is such an unlikeable character that we have always known as evil. The other aspects of this book were very good, the plot was enticing and kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time. The “lost boys” were very endearing and I found myself relating to them very easily as maybe an annoying brother or something. One thing that bothered me about this book was Wendy’s morals, I mean she totally left her parents whom had already lost their sons and just decided to leave them as well! However, it did make for a good story so I’ll go with it. Another thing that bothered me was the ending. Not the technique of the writing but the actual ending itself, the book is a cliff-hanger. I won’t reveal anymore but let’s just say it sure leaves you hanging. I know that the purpose of this is to make you want to read the next book, but come on it is kind of annoying! Therefore this book is a beautiful rendition of Peter Pan that puts you in the center of a love triangle. I wasn’t able to connect to the main character, but found some of the minor characters more relatable. Basically if you are looking for an interesting read and you are into Peter Pan and/or summer romances this is a good choice for you.
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.
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!
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. ROMANCE 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. THE STORY 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. CHARACTERS 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. OVERALL 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.
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.
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." 7% 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." 7% 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. " 60% 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." 67% 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.
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.
2.5 stars 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. the good: 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 bad: 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.
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
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.
***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! Rating: 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.
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.
I loved this book soooo much I cried at the end when jas and wendy didn't end up together but it was a GREAT BOOK!!!