Friday, November 18, 2011
I was so struck by this cover (and a little freaked out-just glance at it!) that I kept an eye out for it and got it as soon as I could from the library. Then I saw that the publisher was Poppy and settled in, relaxed and ready for a great story. I was also excited by the ballet aspect because Jessi from the Baby-Sitter's Club always had great stories around ballet.
Main character Hannah has been studying to be a ballerina for years but at the moment she languishes in the corps, dancing in unison and aching for the spotlight. She pushes herself through additional exercises, suffers pain in her body, and has no time for a social life. Until one day she meets college dilettante Jacob and begins pondering other ways to live.
I loved reading about backstage at the ballet especially because debut author Flack danced with the New York City Ballet for nine years. Although I'm not familiar with dance (I'm a musician), it rang true to me and helped draw me into the world. Hannah was a nice girl whose conflicting ambitions between dance and life drove the story. No matter how hard she pushed herself, it never seemed to be enough for the head of the company and she suffered in the back. She also begins to realize what she has missed out on by being so involved in ballet: prom, college, a social life. And she begins to wonder if she might prefer that kind of life. As someone who was more fascinated by the ballet world, I wasn't excited by Hannah's choice but I understand why she made it.
However I was less interested in the romances. First because I didn't admire Jacob's vagabond ways-pick a few things you like and stick with them instead of constantly giving up on stuff! That was my impression of him. Then there was a flirtation with a cute, rich ballet fan, which made me a little uncomfortable; he seemed to be trying to buy her...at least for a few weeks until he got tired of her.
Overall: An enjoyable debut although I would have enjoyed even more ballet in the story.