I didn't plan this, I swear. But somehow, these two highly anticipated YA books featuring dangerous ballerinas ended up back-to-back in my reading queue. It must have been fate, because I LOVED them both. LOVED!
And not just because I'm a dancer—though that certainly helped. :)
TINY PRETTY THINGS is a debut by two of my fellow New School grads, Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. It was pitched as Pretty Little Liars set in a prestigious ballet academy, and while I've never watched or read PLL, that feels pretty accurate. This book is dishy and dramatic. It's also an incredibly spot-on look inside elite ballet dancers' brains. I was impressed, page after page, at the authors' ability to capture the commitment, the neuroses, and the lingo of the ballet world. There was never a moment when I felt a detail didn't ring true—and I'm pretty picky about books featuring dancers. So what's this book about? Bette has always been top of her class—until new girl Gigi shows up and immediately lands a starring role. June, meanwhile, is stuck as perpetual second-best, and her mom is threatening to pull her out of the academy. Pranks are pulled. Plots are hatched. There are breakups and breakdowns. And at the end…let's just say I was screaming for Book Two, which is out next year. TINY PRETTY THINGS releases in May!
Nova Ren Suma's THE WALLS AROUND US has been one of my most anticipated non-debuts of the year, and it absolutely did not disappoint. Nova's writing is beautiful. Her books are eerie and captivating. And the premise of this one put it at the top of my TBR stack. THE WALLS AROUND US is narrated in alternating sections by Amber, an inmate in a girls' juvenile detention center, and Violet, an aspiring ballerina. Their stories come together via Orianna, Violet's former friend who was convicted of a horrific crime and ended up as Amber's cellmate. That alone would have intrigued me, but the book is also a ghost story—you find out early on that Amber and the rest of the inmates died a few years before Violet's narrated sections take place. What happened to them unfolds gradually, in lyrical prose that is a pleasure to read. This book is out now, and I definitely recommend it.
More book reviews next week! And as always, thanks for hanging out at my blog. :)