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.
I remember seeing Taryn live-tweeting this when she was reading it. It sounded so interesting! A book about ballet that was dark and twisted and full of deceit and lies. I was in. I immediately went and bought the ebook, even though it was more expensive than I tend to spend on ebooks. I needed to own it.
~the overall opinion~
Now, if you follow me on Goodreads, or even if you just look at my shelves, you’ll see that this book took me ages to finish. I started it on February 12th 2017 and didn’t finish it until March 31st 2017 – well, it was 1am on March 31st, so technically, the 30th in my head.
But yeah. It took me a while. Over a month! You’re probably thinking to yourself “Charlotte, how can a book you took so long to finish be rated five stars? Surely that deserves a half or a quarter star knocked off!” and I can understand! Generally, books that take me ages to finish are books I don’t enjoy.
This book, however? So many things factored into this book taking me ages! My depression was acting up, I was in a bit of a slump, it was on my Kindle and I have a hard time making myself pick that up, and lastly, it deals with some heavy subjects that makes reading a lot in one go hard. Especially when fighting your own mental illness.
That’s the only reason.
This book is so wonderful and I cannot wait to get to the sequel “SHINY BROKEN PIECES“!
We have three main POVS, all of them students at a prestegious school of ballet. Technically four if you include the POV of Cassie in the prologue.
First there’s Gigi. She’s the only black student at this school. But she’s the best. She lands the much sought after role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in their performance of The Nutcracker. She’s new. She’s black. She has no friends. And she’s got a heart condition that makes her dancing potentially deadly. Despite all of that, she’s one of the sweetest characters ever. I love her growth throughout the novel and I cannot wait to see happens in book two! I just want to wrap her in a blanket and hiss at anyone who tries to mess with her.
There’s also Bette. She used to be the golden girl before Gigi came along. She’s white, blonde, tiny, perfect. She’s rich, her mother investing a lot of money in the school, offering her a lot of sway. She doesn’t like losing her position and will do anything to get it back. Bette is one of those characters you love to hate. You can sympathise with her and her situation; you want to hug her, if you know she wouldn’t claw your eyes out for trying. After that ending, I’m especially curious to see how she fares in SHINY BROKEN PIECES. I also am routing for her kicking her drug addiction. Like please.
And the last POV is June. She is a biracial Korean dancer who used to be kind of popular but isn’t anymore. June is always second best, always passed over for someone else who appears “better”. I think a lot of us could relate to June the most. She’s constantly trying to improve herself with her skill and her weight and figure. All the while trying to figure out about who her father is. I want her to get there. I want people to realise how good she is, but I’m also pissed at her because of the bad things she does. Also, like Bette, I want her to defeat her eating disorder in book two.
Every single character is this book is cutthroat. As you delve further into the book, you realise that you can’t really trust anyone. You can’t hate them, but you can’t like them either. They all want to be the next superstar and nothing is going to get in their way.
I also adored the side characters such as Alec, Will, Henri and the teachers of the school. Though, I don’t trust any of the boys (Alec especially!)
~the plot and setting~
The plot of this book is so freaking good!
It’s a bit of a mystery. A whodunnit.
It’s a very character driven book, which is my fave thing for a book to be, to be honest. I adore books that are all about character development at heart. And this was definitely about its characters. I loved being inside all three of their heads, even if that wasn’t a pleasant place to be most of the time.
My heart was in my throat every chapter, trying to guess what was going to happen and who was in the firing line. Talking about what happens is a bit spoilery, so I won’t go into detail but holy hell is this amazing!
I also loved the descriptions of the ballet. I could picture it all in my head. It was enough to reignite my love for ballet and even made me watch The Nutcracker and Swan Lake because I missed it so much.
~the final thoughts~
If you’re expecting supportive girl friendships, then this isn’t the book for you. This is a dark, twisted tale of the competitve ballet industry. It’s like an even darker, more realistic version of Black Swan.
I recommend this book wholly. I adored every second, no matter how dark it got, and I cannot wait for the second book to get here so I can get back into this world asap!
Beware for triggers on: drug abuse, eating disorders and bullying.