Monday, April 7, 2014

ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Goodreads summary:

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:

Second Star was not at all what I expected it to be.  I feel like it had so much potential...but it just fell flat.  Really, the only redeeming factors are a couple good twists and atmospheric writing.  Otherwise, this just didn't work for me and I wasn't much of a fan.

What I liked:  Talk about atmospheric writing!  This was the big thing that won me.  The writing was full of wistful description, and it had a very dreamy and ethereal feel to it.  For example: "The ocean stretches out beyond us, endless and beautiful.  I have never, not in a plane, not in the glass house set up on top of the hill, not driving on mountains to get to beach after beach, felt this close to the sky, this far from earth."  I really felt lost in Wendy's thoughts and world.  I think the lyrical writing also contributed to a big plot twist, in a way - if that makes sense.  The writing has such a dreamlike feel to it that when the twist happens, you start to question what's true and what's not.

And, as mentioned, I liked the plot twists.  The major twist was very out of the blue and yet fit perfectly with what was happening in the book, and it drew me into the story even more.  I also liked the fact that the ending leaves things rather open, so that you're not positive what really happened.  This might bother some people, but I think it just added to the suspense.  Also, I should mention that this book is a really fast read.  Despite getting bored and not liking it at parts, I was able to get through it pretty quickly.

What I didn't like:  I am so over love triangles.  And the love triangle in Second Star was awful for me.  It starts off with insta-love, as Wendy instantly falls for Pete.  Then she seems to suddenly decide to trust Jas and forget about Pete.  Oh, and both guys are keeping secrets from her.  And Jas is a drug dealer.  So it totally makes sense to run off with him, right?

The relationships were just so unhealthy.  And I couldn't stand Wendy as a heroine.  She's too wishy-washy and she doesn't think straight at all.  Given everything that's happened to her, I suppose it's understandable that she makes some poor decisions, but I couldn't stand her stupidity.

Overall, I felt pretty let-down when I finished this book.  If you're going into this expecting it to be a lot like Peter Pan, you'll be disappointed.  It's not really even a retelling, just loosely inspired by the story of Peter Pan.  The lovely writing and some unexpected twists were enough to hold my attention, but I was too annoyed by the unhealthy, full-of-insta-love relationships and the Mary Sue-ish main character to enjoy Second Star.

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  2.5 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

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