Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Release Date - May 13, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 248 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Second Star immediately captured my attention by it's obvious Peter Pan similarities. As a Peter Pan fangirl I knew I needed to read this one...immediately. This contemporary twist has a lot of the same themes, and emotions of the classic story, but it was it's characters that kept me from really connecting to this unique, and promising story.

The characters themselves possessed characteristics that were immediately recognizable from the classic story. Tinkerbell's jealousy is found in Belle. Pete's charisma, and youthful charm is mixed with a under current of recklessness. Jas had Hook's proper upbringing and manners, and also much of his danger. These were plentiful and welcome as someone who adores the original story. However, I wanted something that made them feel like their own characters too. I wanted to connect with them in THIS story. It didn't quite happen. I found myself relishing the setting, and parallels to the original story instead of being drawn in by these characters. It still worked for me, but I am unsure how someone not familiar with Peter Pan would react.

Jas especially, and more importantly his relationship with Wendy, never connected with me the way I wanted him to. I never got to understand WHY Wendy would have been attracted to him. The link to Wendy's search for her brothers, and his past make him an unlikely romantic interest, and there is little character development or redemption that showed me what she would see in him. Where I could feel the attraction with Pete, the connection with Jas felt rushed, and like something was missing.

The meshing of surfing with the Peter Pan mythology seems to be tailor made for each other. The haunting, ethereal tone of Neverland and the Peter Pan story itself are complimented by surfing. The ocean has this allure, and danger to it. It's like it has a mind of it's own. It reminded me of Neverland itself, and that's what made it work. The beauty of the waves, and the ocean itself provided this novel with it's own version of Neverland, one that has just a strong a pull as the original did over the Darlings.

Part of Peter Pan's charm, at least for me, is the wonderment of all it. It's other worldliness. Did Wendy and her brothers really go to Neverland? Was it all a dream? This aspect of the mythology is woven throughout the entire story. It is primarily what drives the story, and the reader forward. I wanted to know what was real, and what really happened to Michael and John. However, the truth remains illusive. I personally think, for Second Star at least, that the stronger choice is that it wasn't real. The grief Wendy is experiencing provides a wonderfully heartbreaking backdrop that adds an emotional element that was sadly missing throughout the rest of the story. It's what I chose for myself, because it enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

A dreamy, clever nod to Peter Pan that certainly had it's moments. The only thing that kept me from falling under it's spell fully was a few issues with the characters themselves but it's wistful, enchanting pull certainly made it worth the read for me.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know this one had Peter Pan qualities to it. The story sounds interesting and I like the idea of connecting it to Peter Pan, though it's disappointing not to be able to connect with the characters.


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