By: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Published Year: 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
This book first caught my eye because it was part of the Debut Author’s Challenge. Once I saw the ballet ribbons on the cover I knew I had to find out more about it. I have been a dancer my entire life so any time there is a book about dancing, I will check it out and most likely read it. I honestly don’t even remember my impression of the summary. I think this was one of those dragged in by the cover type of books.
What I thought
WTF? I think, in all honesty, that those three letters pretty much explain my entire mindset while reading this book and upon finishing this book. Now, I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. It is just a book that had me questioning “wtf is going on? Wtf, why is that person doing that? Wtf just happened?” throughout the entire book.
Tiny Pretty Things takes place at a dance academy and (mostly) follows three of the dance students. It is told in multiple perspectives of the three main characters. First we have Gigi. Gigi is a black dancer from California who just came to New York to dance at this academy. Unlike the other girls, she has not been at this school for her entire life, so everything that she is experiencing is for the first time. Next, we have June, Gigi’s roommate. June is Korean and has been at the academy for her entire life. Her mother was a member of the company, but does not want June to be there. Finally, we have Bette; the skinny, blonde hair, blue eyed, fair skinned Queen Bee of the academy. Bette is the “it” girl at the academy because her sister is a star of the company and her parents have a lot of money. She has also been at the academy for her entire life.
It’s interesting because while we have the three perspectives of the three main characters, there are so many other characters that I wish we could’ve heard from. There’s Henri, the French male ballerina and ex-boyfriend of Cassie (ballerina who left after becoming injured), Alec, Bette’s boyfriend and picture perfect ballerina, Will, the gay ballerina who is Alec’s best friend and Bette’s ex-friend, and Eleanor, Bette’s roommate and partner in crime. This is definitely the kind of book where you never get the full story. You only know what the three main characters know and you only hear the truth of their perspective. This makes it difficult to figure out who the honest narrator is.
This book has a lot of drama and a lot of backstabbing. I would say that it feels a little more Black Swan-esque than Center Stage. Granted, I haven’t watched Black Swan, but this book highlights the dark side of ballet like Black Swan did.
I greatly enjoyed this book. I loved that just as much occurred in the dance studios as out of them and that there was ballet written into it. This wasn’t just a book that used ballet as a background. It is front and center and it is wonderful. I also loved that they split the book into seasons since that is how companies work. I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book is that sometimes the drama became a bit much. There are moments where it became almost unbelievable and I had to give it a side eye. And the ending! Oh my goodness I can’t even go into the ending. Let’s just say that I need a next book. I’m not 100% sure whether or not there is a sequel, but I know that I need one.
By: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton