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.
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