Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Title: Second Star
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Classification: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Source: e-galley (I was pre-approved for this book via NetGalley. Thank you, Netgalley and Macmillian!)
Read: March 2014
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. 

**I received an e-galley from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**
I first wrote this review pretty much immediately after reading the book, I wanted to make sure that I sent my feedback quickly since it was my first NetGalley book. And after being able to reflect and think about the book, I feel that I rated it a little too highly. So I am bumping my official rating down to being 4 starts. I just honestly after thinking more about it, there were some things that bothered me more then I originally thought. (The love triangle for instance.) 

I give Second Star 4.5 stars. (Rounded up to 5 stars on GoodReads)

I enjoyed reading Second Star!
I don’t know a lot about Peter Pan, other than when I watched the Disney movie a long time ago, but I thought this book is a wonderful Retelling!
I liked the surfer concept. It might be due to the fact that I have pretty much always lived in driving distance to the beach. I have often enjoyed staring at the water and listening to the waves. I have watched surfers and thought about how awesome it would be to do what they do. So I think I was really able to connect with Wendy’s character. And connect with the story in general.
I loved the characters. I feel that the author did an excellent job developing characters that I was able to become emotionally attached to. I felt Wendy’s heartbreak over her brothers. And even though the parents were not a major part of the novel, I could feel their heartbreak for their sons and their concern for Wendy.
Pete. There was no doubt in my mind that this was Peter Pan. He is the leader of the group of misfit surfers. Foster kids, runaways, and orphans that he has taken under his wing. He has helped them survive and he does so much to help them. I loved this character. You could tell how caring he was. And although he wasn’t exactly truthful with Wendy, I felt that I understood his reasons. I might not
Belle was pretty much the epitome of Tinkerbell. Small and blond. And you could just feel the disdain and jealousy radiating from Belle towards Wendy. She was fast and graceful.
Jas. I think he was supposed like Captain Hook, in the sense that he is apparently the nemesis of Pete in this story and because he gets people hooked on a drug known as Fairy Dust. I really had mixed emotions towards Jas for a long time. When he is with Wendy, you could tell how caring and nice that he truly could be. But he is also a drug dealer, getting others (including Wendy’s brothers) hooked on Fairy Dust. Near the ending I saw how he was trying to seek a new life and leave the bad qualities of himself behind him.
I think that the author did a pretty good job of creating Pete and the surfing world to be different yet connected to Peter Pan and Neverland. A wonderful incorporation of comparing surfing to flying. Pete took Wendy and taught her how to surf and she felt like she was flying.  I did get the sense of Pete not really paying much attention to the real world around them. Everything was focused on surfing. Which I could draw to Peter Pan focusing on never growing up.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and I read it pretty quickly. I did think there was going to be a bit of more focus on Wendy finding her brothers. I felt her hope and determination. And I also felt her pain and heartbreak when she learned the truth.
I think the ending fit well with the story. The idea of her “making up” the time with Pete, Bell, and Jas as a coping mechanism for what happened with her brothers. I felt that it worked with the story because in even in Peter Pan, the Darlings and other adults are not going to believe her about flying and going to Neverland. So the fact that they did not believe her holds true to the story being a retelling. I did find it a confusing that her doing the drug the one time was able to knock her out for so long. But I thought the ending fit the story. I was just hoping that she would in fact find her brothers alive.
I thought the ending brought Wendy’s character to finding acceptance for what happened to her brothers and it allowed her to move on past some of the pain. I found it interesting that the author left the ending a bit open with the fact that Wendy received the picture of Pete and Jas. It left me hopeful that maybe one day Wendy would again cross paths with Pete and Jas.

My Recommendation:
Try it.
I would recommend this story to someone that is interested in a Peter Pan retelling, and likes surfing. If you are have no interest in surfing (or despise it) then this book probably won’t be for you.

**Additional thoughts after submitting my review to the publisher**
I still enjoyed reading this book, and the major issue that I have with the story is the love triangle between Pete, Wendy, and Jas. It really felt forced. And I have a hard time understanding some of the things that she does. 

My Rating:

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