Review: Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo
pub Jan 19 2016 by Random House
Books for Young Readers
YA - Contemporary
Less than a month into the new year and I've already read three ballet books! In case you couldn't tell, I'm extremely happy about this. Up to This Pointe brought another great point-of-view to aspiring ballerinas, not to mention a trip to Antartica (!), diversity and important family and best friend dynamics. It's a lot in one book but the author juggled it well as we learned about Harper Scott's life in alternating chapters between the past in her hometown San Francisco and present day in Antartica. For all of Harper's life, she and her best friend Kate have been working towards one thing and one thing only and that's to become ballerinas at the San Francisco Ballet. But then life gets in the way, as it often does, and Harper makes a drastic decision to figure out what's next. And that decision is to go to Antartica for a prestigious intern position which will require her to be trapped on McMurdo station for two months.

I liked Harper right off the bat. Her love of ballet is evident and it shows as her past is revealed to us. She's got the plan, her classes, teaching ballet lessons and she puts her heart 100% into it. Knowing that makes what happens that much more heartbreaking as she’s forced to redefine who she is and what wants to be. But tied with her love of ballet is this idea of her and her best friend moving onto this next phase of their life together as a team. Again, a wrench is thrown into that. Furthermore, a boy shows up. The synopsis makes it seem like it's a love triangle but it isn’t (for those of you concerned!). It’s pretty straightforward, albeit a bit fast, but I enjoyed watching the romantic aspect of her life unfold in unexpected ways.

(Some) reservations
For me, the strongest parts of the book were the moments that took place in San Francisco. But that said, Antartica was still very engaging for the simple fact that it’s Antartica! I mean, there’s penguins! It was interesting to read about that part of the world because it’s not often featured in the books I read. Then, part of the reason why Harper is able to get this difficult internship is because of her family. She’s a Scott — related to Robert Falcon Scott who was a famous explorer who died trying to get to the South Pole. I thought that integration is what made the book read slowly at times. It didn’t exactly fit in as smoothly to Harper’s story, although I get that’s how she decides on Antartica. And lastly, there’s Kate. I understood on a practical level how important she was to Harper because we’re told this time and time again. But we rarely witnessed it through actions. In fact, Kate seemed like a not-so-great friend most of the time. I would’ve liked to see more of what made them best friends.

Do I recommend?
Despite my reservations, I did like it! I like Harper’s personal journey and the realizations she makes. That alone makes this book a worthwhile read.

1 comment

  1. I quite enjoyed UP TO THIS POINTE! It was SO interesting to read about Antarctica, and to see what sorts of things Harper got to do while she wintered over. And, of course, I really liked hearing about her life as a dancer as well!


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