Saturday, 20 April 2013

Book Review - Bunheads

Title: Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 1 Mar 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1907411274

As a dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is living her childhood dream. She gets to be up on stage in front of adoring crowds every night. And while she might not be a prima ballerina yet, she's moving up the ranks and surely if she works hard enough she can make it happen.
But devoting her whole life to ballet leaves very little time for anything else: friends, family, school have all fallen by the wayside. Hannah doesn't mind, until a chance encounter in a restaurant brings Jacob into her life. He's cute, he plays guitar and he's offering a whole future that Hannah never considered. And now she must choose between her lifelong dream or what could be the love of her life...

My Review
I saw this on the blogs a lot last year and thought it looked interesting but never did anything about it. Then on Thursday someone dropped it in to our library, it wasn't our copy which was why I hadn't seen it before. So instead of sending it back to it's home branch I decided I would borrow it first.
I had a rare evening in last night, so I finished the book I was already halfway through and then opened this one. 
This isn't my usual read but I enjoy taking a break and reading something different like this. I was sure I would enjoy it and I wasn't disappointed. I read about 220 pages last night, I stayed up to about 12.30 but then my eyes were getting too heavy to read. I didn't want to put the book down but I had to. So I finished it in my lunch break today. 
Hannah is 19 years old and training with the Manhattan Ballet Company. She's wanted to be the Prima Ballerina since she was five and has devoted her life to dance. After years and years of hard work she is still just a background dancer, but she's starting to get noticed more and promotion could be within her reach. But then she meets Jacob on a rare night off, he's cute, polite and funny, and has a 'real' life. Hannah has to decide what is more important to her, starting a relationship or dedicating herself to dance. The ballet has always been her first choice, but is it worth it.
This is a great novel to just lose yourself in, I became totally immersed in Hannah's life and wanted to know more. There is a lot of ballet terminology in the story, but I did know what most of them meant, having read other books and seen films with ballet in so I wasn't hindered at all. 
Hannah is really likeable and her personality really shines off the page. It was quite cool to read too as it sort of gave you an insight into the crazy life of professional dancers, to backstage, rehearsals, costume, performances and yes even diets. They certainly don't have it easy, I'm not sure I would have enough dedication to go all the way.
Hannah introduces us to everyone in her life, the group of dancers she hangs out with, including super rich, slightly bitchy Zoe - Hannah's biggest competition but oldest friend. Her dance teachers, wardrobe, physical therapy and stage hands. I like how they all play a very different part in her life but help make everything so much more realistic. I loved how the girls interacted, both as 'friends' and as 'dancers' and how they would change depending on where they were. 
They could all be very self-centered at times, but that's the way that life is, to get ahead you have to be 100% involved and willing to give up everything around you. I liked how Hannah's internal struggle was written, I could totally empathise with her and I wanted her to be happy. 

I will say I was disappointed with the ending, I mean, it was good for Hannah and she does have plans but they were not what I expected after reading the book. I really wanted her to find another way round things. I'm trying not to give too much away. I can see why Sophie Flack did it and it does make sense, I guess I'm just used to fairytale endings and fantasy ideas - that anything can work. Thinking about it, this ending was the only real option but in my mind, she finds a way. 

Overall a very enjoyable read that had me hooked. Really glad I picked it up and I really liked Sophie's writing style - I will be looking out for more by her.

My Rating


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