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Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Bunheads

Author: Sophie Flack
Release Date: October 10, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 294
Source: Library
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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?
My Favorite Lines
“Things are prettier in June, but they're clearer in July.” 
There are moments onstage when everything else falls away, and I think of these as the magic times.  In the magic times, I feel completely in control of my body; my limbs do everything that is asked of them, and I feel as if gravity has no hold on me.  Tonight, dancing Lottie's parts feels just like that.
Why I Loved It:  I am not a dancer.  Oh am I ever not a dancer.  Keeping that in mind, I really do respect people who are dedicated dancers, especially in the area of ballet.  It's HARD work.  If there is one thing you will take from reading Bunheads, it's that ballet is hard.  Really hard.  One of the biggest strengths of the book was the author's unique perspective after a career of professional dance. She really gives you an inside look into what the world of ballet looks like.  And people, I am not cut out for it.  At all.  Just let me read about it please!
Enter the world of Hannah Ward:  ballet class in the morning, rehearsal all day for various ballets, two or three ballets a night, and time off is spent in the gym or pilates or yoga.  It's a very scary reality, but it is the reality of all the dancers that surround her as they push and push to be promoted into the "dream job" of a soloist.  The mantra of the Manhattan Ballet Company where she works would have to be this: "Your job is not to have a life.  Your job is to dance."

The question is, when Hannah meets Jacob - a care-free college kid from NYU who happens to be a pretty good musician - does she want a life?  Ballet has been Hannah's world at least since she was 14, and her dreams revolved around it from an even younger age.  It's all she's ever wanted to do.  But that was before Jacob.  Jacob is a boy with many passions that he is constantly pursuing.  Hannah envies the time he has to discover the world he lives in while ballet keeps her world within the theater.    
Ms. Flack writes with a quiet realism of the world in which she spent quite some time living.  One of my favorite scenes in the book shows how Hannah breaks her shoes in.  IT WAS CRAZY COMPLICATED!  The book is like a window into the Manhattan Ballet Company, into the world of a dancer.  When Hannah is dancing, I felt like I was right on stage with her feeling the rush.  The book shows that dreams may not be forever.  Most dreams have a cost, and if that cost is above what you are willing to pay, find a new one.  As people, we can have so many passions, do so many different things.  
The book has such an awesome message about living the life you are given.  *No this is NOT where I go all idiotic and say YOLO*  Live a life of purpose, but don't pay the price of your life over a dream that doesn't make you happy anymore.  
It was a wonderful book.  I have so much time on my hands right now that I have been reading like a book a day.  This has been one of my favorites lately. 

Who Should Read It:  It's an incredible YA Contemporary novel.  People who have a background in dance would probably appreciate it.  

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