Review – Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Posted January 6, 2023 by Carole in Reviews / 18 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review – Second Star by Alyssa B. SheinmelSecond Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Macmillan on May 13, 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Peter Pan as you've never imagined it before: a love triangle between Wendy, Pete, and Hook set in the endless summer of modern-day coastal California.

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 J. M. Barrie's 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 liked this book! I have had a copy of this book for more years than I really want to admit and I am glad I finally got around to giving it a try. I was rather intrigued by the fact that this book is a Peter Pan retelling despite the fact that my knowledge on this topic is limited to what I remember from the Disney movie so I can’t really say how closely tied to the original content this book is. Since the focus is mainly on surfing, I would guess the connection is loose. I found it to be a rather entertaining story.

Wendy’s brothers John and Michael disappeared and are presumed to be dead. Everyone believes that they are gone but Wendy thinks that they are still out there and is determined to find them. John and Michael were surfers and Wendy soon finds herself hanging out with a group of surfers led by a man named Pete in her quest to find them. The surfer group lives in an abandoned house on the water. A drug dealer named Jaz (think Hook) lives on the other side of the cove.

I liked the characters in this book quite a bit and I hate to admit that my favorite was Jaz. Jaz might be a drug dealer, which I didn’t like, but he never did anything to Wendy besides try to help her. I never completely trusted Pete since he always seemed to be hiding things from Wendy. I liked Wendy and was impressed by her determination to find her brothers. I was rather drawn into the story by the writing and found it hard to put down.

The ending is wide open and I must say that I wanted a bit more closure than we get in the story but that didn’t ruin the experience for me. This was an interesting retelling that was sometimes darker in nature. I wouldn’t hesitate to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

18 responses to “Review – Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I vaguely remember thinking it was an interesting retelling, but I guess I was just maybe hoping for a little more of the fairy tale elements. I can’t remember if I read Peter Pan before or after this one. I can’t really remember much of the fairy tale either to say one thing or another. But the elements they included I thought made it a decent retelling!

    • Really the main connection to the original seemed to be the character names. It was a decent story in the end.

    • I thought that this was a very interesting retelling. I did like the author’s writing style quite a bit but wanted more out of the ending.

  2. I agree this story went a bit dark, but I remember loving it when I read it several years ago. I kind of enjoy retellings that bring a new spin, and this was seemed original at the time.

  3. I don’t think this one is for me as for some reason I haven’t had good luck with Peter Pan retellings. I think the lack of closure at the ending would drive me crazy as well. I’m glad you enjoyed this one even if it wasn’t a perfect read.

    • I think that this is the second Peter Pan retelling that I have read. I really wanted a bit more out of the ending than I got.

  4. I’m always happy to get an ARC that’s been sitting on my shelf for years check off. Does sound like an interesting take on the Peter Pan story. I don’t know much about the original story other than what Disney has presented either. I have to say the story always freaked me out a bit. I want to know what happened to her brothers. Glad to hear you enjoyed the story!

    • It feels so good to get those old ARCs of my tbr! The fact that this was really pretty good and I enjoyed made that even better!

    • Definitely very loose. The biggest connection to the original was the character names but I liked it for the most part.