DNF Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 248 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Unfortunately, there's not much to say about this one aside from the fact that I so desperately wanted it to be better. I decided to DNF at page 68. I lost interest and with my limited reading time as a college student, I wanted to get back into reading. This book put me into a two week slump that extended an extra week due to finals.

Sheinmel has a really beautiful writing style. It's very simple, but it gets the point of across and still manages to paint vivid pictures. I was initially worried about the low page count because of an assumed lack of detail, but it's not the detail that bothered me. The descriptions of beautiful California were spot on and Wendy's dysfunctional family was well done as well. Heck, her sureness of her brothers' survival and her hope in finding them was great, too.

But that's about all that was great about this book aside from the awesome plot idea. I just wish it was executed a little bit better.

Wendy fell completely flat to me. I did not understand her at all. You have this very posh life and you choose to live with a bunch of run-aways after a single kiss with a guy that has a girlfriend? I thought you were a smart girl, but I should have realized that the plot was this crazy because there is none. Furthermore, Wendy felt like the literary equivalent of cardboard to me. I could not connect with her at all. Typically I could knock out a book of this length in a single sitting in one day, but I literally felt as if I was slogging through this one because of how dry everything felt to me. Nothing was coming to life. It was just words on paper that I could not translate into vivid imagery in my imagination.

It doesn't help that all other characters were flat, too, and I just hated the love interests because, well, they get off on the wrong foot and there's no redemption for liars in my eyes. They were sort of the kyrptonite of this story. They took what little potential it had left after Wendy's lack of emotions and flushed it all down the drain. Such a wonderful retelling idea has been wasted...I am so desperate for a proper Peter Pan retelling that I love!

I can't tell you how the story ends or if it gets any better. The only thing I can say is that this is just one of those rare occasions where a book and I are not meant to be. It could be the time or the place or even my emotions, but I don't see myself giving this one another chance.
Because I can't say anything else about the novel, check out some reviews of people who did finish it: Blythe from Finding Bliss in Books and Meg at Cuddlebuggery

FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I did enjoy the beginning of this one, but I definitely get your issue with it. However, the ending seriously blew me away! There is a great twist! I don't know if it would change your opinion of the rest, but it did make me like it more.

    1. Hmm this makes me curious! I know some people absolutely despised the ending, but you loved it! :o Just goes to show that reading is all about interpretation.

    2. It's definitely one of those twists that will either make you throw the book across the room or go "holy crap, wait, what?! OMG." I was the latter, since it's a kind of twist that I'd love to run across more often.

    3. I had a friend tell me what happened and I would have thrown the book across the room... lol

  2. Very very interesting. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway but haven't received it yet. So I will end up reading it. I have read so many polarizing reviews for this one. So now I'm a bit intrigued.

  3. I did finish this one, but barely. Didn't enjoy it at all. Wendy is an idiot, and everyone else in the book is horrible, and nothing anyone does makes any sense. The ending doesn't get any better either. I hate it when a bad book puts me in a reading slump :(