Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Review)

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~~Received this book via NetGalley. Thank you for letting me review this novel.~~

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. 

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary Fiction

Cover: The typography is my favorite part of the book because it blends in with the waves to look apart of the water. Other than that, it’s the typical teenage novel cover I expected it to have. 

My thoughts: This quick summery read is set around a girl named Wendy whose brother’s disappeared in a surfing accident a couple of years ago. She is determined at all costs to find them to prove that they are still alive when everyone else has already lost hope. Leaving her family and best friend behind without thinking twice, Wendy tries to retrace her brother’s steps, before they went missing, and ends up at Kensington beach, home to runaway teenage surfers. She quickly connects with Pete, the head of the household of surfers who allows her to stay with him and his friends during her search. With teenage love, loss, and the overcoming of grief, Wendy learns that her chase after her brothers might really be a journey to find herself. 

Let me just start off by saying that this book had potential. The plot could have been ten times better if the basis of the character background and creation of the setting wasn’t scarce and actually went into depth. With this large lack in the plot, it didn’t allow me to fully connect with this novel. I would have loved to have had more information on her relationship between her depressed parents and the two boys she met and instantly fell for so the book wouldn’t have felt as rushed as it was. I also couldn’t really believe Wendy’s naive snap decisions she made without fully thinking through the consequences which made her get into unnecessary problems that should have never arose. 

The supporting characters really did help Wendy grow as a character, though. They brought her out of her shell by making her try surfing, a thing she swore she’d never do thanks to her brother’s accident. She gradually learned to trust others, a good trait she acquired to make her a stronger person. I also liked one of her love interests, Jas, who helped make her braver and believed in her dreams no matter what.

All in all, this book had good descriptions of surfing and a very intriguing ending I never expected to happen. The ending managed to be slowed down a bit and felt better paced to bring the reader right into the plot twist. I would have enjoyed this book more if the character building and background descriptions were planned out better to make the situations Wendy went through less ridiculous. Some decisions she made were very impractical and reckless, something that really bothered me during my entire time reading this story, yet this book wasn’t as difficult to get through in the end. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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