Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Bunheads

Title: Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
Expected publication: October 10th 2011 by Poppy
Source: ARC courtesy of publisher for review

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?"

First two line: "My name is Hannah Ward. Don't call me a ballerina."

Thoughts:Have you ever watched the movie Centerstage? Remember the character Maureen? She was the best dancer at ABA, but then started dating a college guy and questioned her life choices. If someone wrote a book from her point of view, this would be her story.

Hannah Ward has dreamed of being a ballet dancer since she was 4 and has been dancing for the Manhattan Ballet since she was 14. She lives, breathes and eats ballet. After years of being in the background, Hannah is dying to be in the spotlight. She will do anything to get noticed this year, even if it means going to extra yoga classes and never going more than a few blocks from the safe house that is the Manhattan Ballet.

Enter Jacob. He is a handsome musician Hannah meets at her uncle's restaurant one night. To Hannah, it is a breath of fresh air to talk to someone who isn't apart of the company and is just, well, normal. But with Hannah's busy schedule, does she have time for a boyfriend? And even though she really likes him, how long will he stick around if she keeps blowing him off for ballet? Is this even the life she wants anymore?

I never realized being a ballerina ballet dancer was so brutal. Rigorous is the best word I can find to describe it, but that hardly does what they do justice. While the book was interesting and I enjoyed reading about Hannah's trials and tribulations with dancing for the Manhattan Ballet, I felt like some of the subplots were a bit repetitive. Though I understand that her life is repetitive, it would have been nice for the author to throw in some sort of twist, surprising the reader and making the story a little bit less predictable. I did, however, enjoy reading about how challenging it is having friends within the ballet and outside of it. Can you really call the other ballet dancers your friends when they would easily stab you in the back to be in the spotlight? Drama, you got to love it!

Another thing I would have liked to see is more romance in the book, even though I understand that a huge part of the novel was based around Hannah not having time for a relationship. Jacob and Hannah's instant connection was sweet, but a little disappointing. I would have liked to see their relationship develop more, maybe go on more dates or maybe more kissing or just something. Anything! Also, Jacob's character was a little stereotypical for my taste. Understanding musician who is also a student at NYU and a bit of an artist himself? Been there, done that. Personally, I would not consider Jacob swoon-worthy, mainly because he is just too boring. As far as romance goes, Bunheads fell a little flat in that department (but I don't think this book was meant to have much romance in it anyway).

Still, whether you're a dancer and even a "pedestrian", this is an interesting book for anyone who has ever questioned their dreams and choices. It's also quite addicting, as it only took me two days to finish it. I may not have loved this book, but I did like it and recommend it to anyone who has ever dreamed of being in the spotlight.

On a side note, in the author's notes, it says that Sophie Flack danced for the New York Ballet from 2000-2009 and is currently studying English at Columbia. All I have to say is wow. How incredible is that? Sophie Flack truly is a superstar!



  1. I saw this a while back, it really does sound interesting with how it shows you the world and life of a ballet dancer. Maybe I'll give it a try - great review! :)

  2. I've seen two reviews for Bunheads this week - it's now officially on my To Read list! I loved 'Centerstage' (and 'Step Up' hehe), and used to read dance/ballet novels when I was younger...I danced for 2 years in elementary school, and have often wondered what'd happen if I'd kept at it :o) This one sounds great!

  3. I remember Michelle telling me about this book at ALA. Glad you liked it! I loved Centerstage!



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