Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Posted 17 June, 2014 by Gabbie in Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux BYR on May 13, 2014
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 256
Reading Challenges: 2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge, 2014 Standalone Reading Challenge, 2014 YA Contemporary Challenge
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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.

Here Are My Thoughts

Favorite Quotes

“Pete’s right—we are a family and for just a few minutes, it feels like Pete and I are about twenty years older than we actually are, like we’re the parents and these are our kids sitting around the blanket. This is our house, and these boys—and Belle—they’re our family. And tonight, I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of taking care of them.”

Why I Picked It Up

This novel was pitched as a Peter Pan retelling and I haven’t read one like it, so I had to give it a try.


Second Star tells the story of Wendy as she sets out to find her brothers who disappeared nine months prior in a surfboarding accident and were presumed dead. However, Wendy refuses to believe this and sets out to find them, coming across a surfer’s heaven called Kensington Beach. Here, she meets Pete, Belle, and their gang. She also meets Jas, the local rival and enemy to Pete. Wendy decides to get close to Pete and his gang, convinced that maybe one of them had met or seen her brothers. However, after a falling out, she turns to Jas who promises to help her find her brothers.

Second Star was definitely a novel that kept me pulled in from the very first to the very last page. I was absolutely captivated by Wendy in her search for her missing brothers. I loved the spin on Peter Pan, with Pete acting as Peter, Belle as Tinkerbell, Pete’s crew as The Lost Boys, and Jas as Hook. It was a great contemporary spin-off that didn’t completely ruin the original. And it also had an ending that took my mind for a spin and made me question what was real.

Leading Lady

Wendy was a bit too optimistic for me and a bit insane. Let’s be real here—her brothers had been missing for over nine months and there was evidence to support their deaths. Yet, Wendy refused to believe it all. She bordered on the line of insane for me. However, I loved that she loved her brothers enough to keep looking for them. She was determined and that is something that I admire her character for.

Leading Male

“‘I didn’t go far. Pete may have hated me, but his wasn’t the only empty house in Kensie.’ ‘So he lives on one side of the beach and you live on the other.’ ‘And he steals to put enough scraps together to feed the strays who show up at his house from time to time, and I sell drugs to make enough money to have running water and electricity and a Jew Ski and all the boards I want.’”

There were two love interests in this novel: Pete and Jas. To be honest, in my opinion, Pete wasn’t much of a choice. He had Belle and I felt off about him from the beginning. He didn’t seem to be that truthful and I just couldn’t get over that feeling for the duration of the novel. Jas was the drug dealer, the bad boy character that never gets the girl. And for some reason, I always find myself rooting for the bad guy. This was true in this case as well. Jas just seemed more open to me and real as a character. He didn’t seem very mean or manipulative aside from the fact that he sold a drug, Fairy Dust. Other than that, he was actually pretty sweet.


“I was falling hard for Pete, and now I’m falling fast for Jas. How is that possible? To feel such intense emotions for two different people, one right after the other?”

The romance in this novel came second to Wendy’s quest to find her brothers, of course. However, I am glad to say that I enjoyed the little romance that there was. It was cute and fluffy, and really not much of a triangle in the end. That’s all I can say for risk of spoilers.


“‘What were you doing in Newport the night I gradated? Why were you surfing so far from Kensie?’ Pete shrugs. ‘One thing Jas said this morning was true: you gotta follow the waves. Kensie was a little flat that week. So I had to leave.’ ‘You had to?’ I say, glancing at the ocean, the perfect waves coming one right after the other. ‘Why, when you knew the waves would come back here eventually?’ ‘You can’t wait for them to come to you,’ he says. ‘You gotta chase them. Otherwise…’ ‘Otherwise what?’ I ask. I think about my brothers, of the mornings when they were out chasing waves while the rest of the world was still sleeping. ‘Otherwise, who knows what chances you might be missing?’”

I enjoyed to incorporation of surfing into this novel. It was a pretty large part of the characters and the plot. I have only ever read one other surfing novel and it was fun to see how it affected the characters in this novel. I mean, a surfboarding Peter and Hook? It definitely put an interesting spin on the novel. It also gave the novel a summery feel, which is nice when you’re lazing around and reading!


Second Star was a novel that blurred the lines between reality and imagination and took me for a magical ride.

4 Stars

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