ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel

Title: Second Star
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher/Publication Date: Ferrar, Straus and Giroux/May 13, 2014
How Did I Get It? Netgalley
Format? ebook

Synopsis 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.

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The Yacht

I was so excited for this book – beyond excited. Like, do a happy dance when you get the “you’ve been approved” email sort of excited! But ultimately this book fell so flat for me that I’m pretty sure it looks like a pancake. This had a lot of promise, but between flimsy characters, an illogical plot, and a twist ending that only served to piss me off entirely, I ultimately had to force myself to finish it. I’m just going to break it into bullet points for this one. Oh, and SPOILERS AHEAD. Because we all know that I can’t censor myself when I rant.

The Bad:

  • The logic. Where was it? I speculate that there was none at all. Who the hell can wander off and live on a beach for who knows how long without being chased after by cops?? I mean, you would think that parents who have just lost their twin boys would actually kind of care about their only remaining child. But I guess not! This review from Meg at Cuddlebuggery perfectly sums up everything I feel, only using all the language that I try to not have here on the blog. But yeah – what she said.
  • The Pete. Two-timing bastard. This is the walking personification of asshole. He acts all holier-than-thou because he’s knocked a few kids of their drug habit, but ultimately he’s irresponsible, manipulative, and useless.

He may be pretty to look at, but he’ll screw you over six ways to Sunday

  • The love triangle. I shipped Wendy and Jas (ish), but really the whiplash this triangle gave me could have put me in the hospital. Back and forth back and forth and whyyyyy where is Wendy’s brain?? I thought her goal was to find her brothers, NOT to fall in love with A) a vagrant and B) a drug dealer. Again, back to the zero logic point.
  • The ending. THE ENDING. It makes sense with the retelling (at least, from the Disney that I’ve seen), but the Disney way didn’t have me wanting to tear my hair out. After there was actually some character development and I was rooting for these people, Wendy admits that she was hallucinating, and I was okay with that, with it all being a dream, but then WHOOP rug is ripped out from under me and she says that it truly did happen and someday she’ll find them again. It was so random and unseen that I felt like I had been slapped across the face.

Okay, so here’s the good:

  • The cover is gorgeous. Lens flares and water and sunsets oh my! It’s like one of those mantis shrimps: glorious to look at, but in truth will murder you if you get too close. (Speaking of mantis shrimp: pleasepleaseplease check out this thing from The Oatmeal about them. I first saw them on Animal Planet, but I think that link sums them up in a way that is far more hilarious/ugly snort-laughter inducing)
  • The writing is pretty. As I said in one of my Goodreads updates: “Pay no attention to the problems behind the smokescreen of purple prose.” Or something to that effect. It wasn’t HARD to read the book, just mildly frustrating for the first 75%.
  • Jas. Yup. The drug dealer. Not to say I forgive him for getting all those kids hooked on fairy dust (basically ecstasy mixed with LSD), because that was a dick move and he deserves some jail time for that. But he was the most dimensional character. Or, at least, he had the potential to be a well developed character. Plus, he’s hot. So that kind of helped. I do have a weakness for dark-haired boys with blue eyes.

Murdering me would be less painful

And that’s about all I can come up with. It was pretty on the outside, but when I take even a single second to look past the nice writing, it all falls apart. I can’t say I recommend this one at all, objectively or subjectively. But enjoy the man candy gifs!

My Final Rating:

Two Anchors

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel

  1. I completely concur with all of your points and yet I still think I enjoyed it more than you did. Heck you nailed all my plus and minus points – I think I ended up liking it more though since it was so nostalgic for me and that I don’t normally read contemporary YA so it was fresher feeling in a way as I don’t read this genre often.

    • Peter Pan wasn’t my favorite Disney movie anyway, so I guess I didn’t have that love for it like I wanted. And I’ve been reading so much contemporary lately that I guess I’m just getting picky!

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