Author: Sophie Flack
Release date: October 10th 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
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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.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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?
You know when everything about a book is just right? Those stories that suck you right in, make you not notice anything going on in the world around you, and, at least while you're reading them, make you completely happy? Yeah. Bunheads is one of those books.
Even though I'm a total talent-free-zone in everything related to music and dance, I love reading books about the performing arts. The world of dance in Bunheads is fascinating. I never knew how much work being a profesional ballet dancer has to be - these girls (and guys) have multiple performances a day! I loved reading about all the details about the world of dance, the little pieces of information that make it realistic, and finding out about the world behind the glitz and the glamour, especially when you consider that Sophie Flack danced for the New York City Ballet herself and knows what she's talking about.
Hannah is a great character. She's 19, which is awesome - yay for new adult books! I forget how great it is to read about an MC who's a little older than me. Hannah is easy to relate to and feel for, except for a few times when I grew frustrated by her decisions. I especially liked how Hannah isn't some crazy-talented, out-of-this-world-dancer - she's made it to the Manhattan Ballet Company, but she's in the corps, and she wants to be a soloist. I like that she doesn't just succeed each time she tries - she works hard, but there are still highs and lows, and I love when books are realistic like that.
The secondary characters are great, too. I liked reading about all of the bunheads and their relationships with Hannah. I thought Bunheads would focus more on romance, and even though I love Jacob, I'm glad it doesn't. I enjoyed reading about Hannah's life as a dancer as the main storyline and appreciated that the author didn't try to turn this story into primarily romance.
I also appreciate how the whole issue of eating disorders and dieting and all of that is handled. The reader gets too see how much pressure there is on a dancer, and we see that there are a lot of issues concerning this topic, without the tone ever turning preachy.
The only thing I didn't like is how many ballet terms are used throughout this book. Maybe I'm not the best judge, since I know absolutely nothing about ballet, but those terms just confused me. I don't really care what the moves are called - for me, it would be enough to know she's dancing, or for the author to describe what Hannah is doing, but all those ballet terms strung together didn't really help me, and I don't think they'll help the average reader.
I just loved Bunheads. Like I said, it's one of those books that's just right. I loved being immersed in the world of a professional dancer, and I loved going along with Hannah on her journey. I definitely recommend it, especially if you, like me, enjoy books about the performing arts!
What do you think of books about the performing arts? What are some of your favorites?