Publisher: HarperTeenRelease date: May 26th 2015
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Edelweiss - I received a free advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
My rating: 5 out of 5 starsGigi, 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.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Tiny Pretty Things. I've read a couple of books focusing on dance or other art forms, and I really enjoyed them even though they're so far out of my own world. But Tiny Pretty Things seemed to focus more on the competitive, backstabbing side of this world, and I wouldn't know how I would feel about that because I haven't been into books with unnecessary drama like that anymore lately. But Tiny Pretty Things took my surprise - I ended up loving it so much more than I thought I would! It's a fast-paced, thrilling read that I never wanted to end.
The three main characters are what make Tiny Pretty Things so great - all three of them are complex, unique and impressively well-written. Gigi is the only one of the three you're really supposed to like - the sweet and innocent underdog the reader is supposed to root for. I did really like her, but to be honest, I loved the sections from Bette's and June's POVs even more! Both of them are complete psychopaths and do some despicable things over the course of the novel, and you really should hate them for it. But, in some dark and twisted way, I felt for them and understood where they were coming from. Reading from their POVs was refreshing and so much fun!
The secondary characters aren't quite as fully developed as Bette, June, and Gigi. For the other girls, I didn't mind that - the reader gets some insights into their stories, but Bette, June, and Gigi are the main focus. I do wish, though, that the male characters were a little more complex - I never really understood Alec, or what Gigi saw in him, and Henry and Jayhe were kind of confusing in their decision-making. But really, the main characters are so great that I didn't even notice these flaws most of the time.
Speaking of characters - Tiny Pretty Things gets major brownie points for diversity! Gigi is one of only two black girls at the school, and June is half-Korean, half-white, not really part of either "group." Their struggles with being non-white in a business that very much favors whiteness is subtly woven into the story. Homosexuality and this addressed much in the same way. I really appreciated how these issues are an important part of the story without needing the book to be "about" them.
I loved being immersed in the world of dance while reading Tiny Pretty Things. Like I said, it's something I know nothing about, but it's written in a way that made an outsider like me understand what was going on while still maintaining the authentic voices of the ballerinas. It was fascinating to read about the pressure these girls are under, and to see the dark side of this world, too, with June's eating disorder and Bette's prescription drug addiction.
My only issue with Tiny Pretty Things was the ending, really. Is this going to be a series? The ending very much felt like there is going to have to be a sequel because basically nothing is resolved. I was kind of upset it ends so abruptly, without really revealing what had happened in the end. But as long as there's going to be a sequel, it makes sense.
For those of you who have read Pretty Little Liars - do you remember those little snippets at the beginning that are written from A's perspective? You're reading from the perspective of the bad guy, but that somehow makes it even more thrilling. That's what basically all of Tiny Pretty Things felt like. With complex and unique characters and intriguing world you can't help but get sucked into, Tiny Pretty Things is a fast-paced, drama-filled novel that I couldn't put down.