ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel


second starTitle: Second Star
Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Source: Publisher (ARC)


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 thoughts-01

Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for review!

You know when you’re reading a book and all is going well and you’re enjoying the story when suddenly you have an epiphany about what you’re reading? Yeah, that’s what happened to me in this book.

Almost immediately when I started reading Second Star, I was in love. It’s a sad story, to start with, and I felt so connected to Wendy, the main character. Not only that, but I loved the beach setting and that overwhelming sadness that seemed to encompass the story. Her brief first encounter with Pete had me on the edge of my seat, longing for them to meet again, and once they did I was smitten.

And then, about 50 pages in, I realized that the story was a retelling of Peter Pan.

Yup. I’m a quick one.

Peter Pan is one of my favourite movies of all time, so I loved seeing how the similarities fell into place while reading Second Star. I loved every single second of it. There was an almost mystery to Pete and his gang, and with Jas, all combined with Wendy’s grief. It made me think a bit about The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman in that when I finished reading, I wondered if what I read had actually happened (in story world, of course) or if it was all imagination. I don’t want to ruin it by going into specifics, but this book held me right until the very end and made me think long after closing its final page.

This is my first book by Alyssa B. Sheinmel and it won’t be my last. I loved the characters, the atmosphere, and everything in between. I loved that Wendy’s parents were there (even when they weren’t quite there) and that Wendy’s grief was real. It was a sad, heartbreaking read, and one that I would love to revisit in the future.


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

  1. I can’t even tell you how many times I have started reading a book not realizing what it was based on. And then after numerous references, I FINALLY pick up on it. It is a facepalm moment for me. haha

    I have this book coming up for review later this week, and I am super excited to read it. I will have to prepare myself for the sadness surrounding Wendy though.

    Great review!

    • Aww, I’m sad you couldn’t finish it! I liked that the fairy tale incorporated wasn’t what I was expecting — it’s not one of the normal retellings!

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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