Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Published October 9, 2012 by Poppy (first published 2011)
Paperback, 320 pages
Borrowed from library

Hannah is a dancer at the prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company. She dances night and day, never taking a minute to stop. But when she meets musician Jacob, Hannah realizes there's more to the world than just ballet. She's curious to explore it, but can she really leave dance? 

I took ballet lessons for three years when I was younger and while I've since stopped, the allure of dancing ballet has never quite left me. So I was really excited to pick up this book and experience what it's like behind the scenes for a ballerina. 

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Bunheads was a really quiet book. Like if books were able to speak, Bunheads would be one that doesn't talk a lot. It's a very subtly beautiful book but it's hard to get into. I had a lot of trouble with it at the beginning and ALMOST put it down (I'm so happy I didn't). 

You see, Bunheads is not a book with lots of action. It's not a book with witty banter and exciting characters which makes it hard to love. Instead, it's simple and straightforward which is exactly what helped this story become so great. Flack is telling a very personal and important story and the best way she can do that is to write frankly and vividly. And I do think she accomplished that.

Flack managed to plop the reader right in the story, as if we were an invisible spectator watching the series of events unfold. It was thrilling to be front row in witnessing a ballerina's life. I had no idea it was so tiring and dramatic and I absolutely loved the inner conflict Hannah had with herself about whether or not to stay with dance. Some really great character development in this novel! 

I'm sorry I don't have much to say about this book but I really did like it! It took a while for me to get into it but once I did, I had such a fun time. It was real eye-opening to see the nice and not-so-nice realities of being a ballet dancer and everything felt so realistic. It was almost as if I was living it along with Hannah. Hannah was a great character who developed greatly throughout this novel! She had a really solid narration and was extremely likeable and relatable. Bunheads is not a fast-paced book but I loved it for its subtle beauty.

ballerinas or balletomanes (putting my ballet terminology to use!) or just people who want to know more about ballet. Also recommended for someone who's looking for a sweet coming of age story. 

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