Book Thoughts: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

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. 

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?

Bunheads quickly immersed me into the wonderful world of dance, but through the protagonist, Hannah, the reader soon discovers that the world is far from wonderful. The constant routine and intense practicing the girls go through is compelling. As a person on the outside [of dance] it is always captivating to see the inner workings of things since it does not cross your mind until it comes up. Bunheads is a nice read that shows an individual must have a lot of dedication to pursue an avocation that he/she loves.

There are a ton of intricate dances within this book. (Duh, the character is a professional ballet dancer.) Multiple dances are repeated constantly throughout the book, but only their titles are given. Most people do not know the steps to a dance and cannot picture what the character is doing in his/her head. Like others, I am foreign to these dances and wished a few of the more common ones were explained in detail. Most of the time, I pictured random graceful moves when Hannah and her friends performed because I did not know how the moves were executed.

I found Hannah’s relationship with one of her friends, Zoe, different. The two have a love-hate relationship which doesn’t usually appear in YA novels between girls. Each is the other’s main competitor, which is the main cause of their confusing friendship. I’m glad stress is put on their relationship in their novel; if it happens in reality, why shouldn’t it happen in fiction?

Hannah’s thoughts and decisions confused me. They vacillate frequently, and left me unsure of which way the story would go.  I am still not sure if I see that a positive of negative part of the story. I know I switch my decisions multiple times and think things over and over again but for some reason it really bothered me when it came to the story. I also had no idea where her relationship with Matt or Jacob would go. The whole novel felt like a giant mental battle and the reader doesn’t find out her final decision until the very end. I wished the ending hadn’t been so sudden and the story had carried on for a few pages more after the solution of the main conflict so I could have seen the aftermath.

Still, the protagonist’s voice is effortless to fall into. One of the colleges I would like to attend is NYU and Jacob , the cute NYU student, made me want to go even more. Bunheads is a nice read. If dancing is your thing, I definitely suggest it (I already have two friends who want to read it).


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