September 25, 2012

Latest Read: Bunheads

Here are the basics ...
Book: Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
Site: http://sophieflack.com/
Category: Young Adult

Summary: As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life? (Adapted from goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: Do you know how long it's been since I've read a good ballet book? TOO. LONG. (Middle school, A Time for Dancing by David Will Hurwin, to be exact.) Bunheads was everything I hoped it would be.  I didn't want over-the-top stereotypes or crazy drama or psychotic dancers a la Black Swan. I wanted a real, honest look at ballet and the passion that drives dancers to pursue this lifestyle. Because that's what it is.  It's not just a 9-to-5 job or a hobby for them, they're choosing to dedicate their lives to this one skill.  Bunheads does an amazing job of portraying that.

It's a simple, straightforward story of Hanna's journey as a dancer and the decision she needs to make for herself.  Is this really what she wants? The author goes into a lot of behind-the-scenes detail about a dancer's life. The grueling schedules, maintaining a certain physique and the lengths they go to have that perfect body, the thrill of being on stage, people who are both your friends and your competitors, wanting to be noticed by teachers, who gets which solo.  As a fan of ballet (and someone who danced for about five years), it was all very fascinating to me.  And I loved seeing this through Hanna's eyes. I felt like she was someone I could know.  Yes she's a ballerina but she's also just a regular girl curious about the world and craving normalcy.  Someone who wants to have time to read and meet cute guys. She was very easy to relate to in that way. And she does meet a very, very cute guy - Jacob.  I wish I knew a guy as forthcoming and nice as he is (and he plays the guitar!). They just hit it off immediately and the more time they spent together, the more I wished she didn't have to choose between ballet or being a teenager.  I wanted her to have it all.

The bad: Let me preface this by saying that I don't consider this to be a bad thing.  That said, if you're the type of reader who wants a lot of drama or an unexpected twist in the plot, you won't find that here. This is all about the life of a ballerina and the tough choice Hanna has to make.  That's her struggle and for me, that was compelling enough to carry the book and make it interesting. But I can understand how that sort of steady pacing might not be for everyone.

Do I recommend?: I do! If you're a fan of ballet or dance, this is definitely one you'll want to pick up.  And even if you're not, the book is such a well-written interesting look into that world that I highly recommend giving this a shot.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I love ballet! I was a ballerina for a good 8 years, and sometimes, I really regret giving it up. ANYWAY. I can't wait to read this book! I just remembered a ballet book I used to read - A Dream of Sadler's Wells. Haven't read any of the sequels, but I really liked this one!

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