Our main character and protagonist – Hannah Ward – is such a true character. She deals with friendship issues, jealousy (at extreme levels), embarrassment, and self esteem. But, she is smart, funny, gifted and dedicated. Imagine devoting your entire life to one thing. Leaving your home, your parents, your friends – at 14 – to go to New York City to study ballet at the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet. You have to want to be a ballerina with your heart, your soul, and every inch of your body. Hannah has it all, but she is stuck in a group where she doesn’t want to be – the corps – the place with few solos. So she fights for attention, competes with her best friend, and looses weight at one point in order to keep a delicate spot.
When Hannah meets Jacob, a musician who is highly impressed by her skills and dedication, she is introduced to the real world – the non ballet world. He shows her the NYC she never took the time to see, teaches her to be courageous in a new way, and lastly, to love.
After dealing with Jacob, ballet, and completing for a high spot, you can see Hannah is rethinking her priorities. Jacob has become annoyed when she can’t fit him into her cram-packed schedule. Otto, her instructor, is pushing her over the limits of her body, and her best friend isn’t being the best. Hannah has to deal with the ultimate question in her life – is it time to leave behind ballet?
I loved and hated Hannah. I loved her for her witty humour, incredible skills, impeccable determination, and her ability to love people. Also, she was flawed, and one of her flaws I particularly didn’t like. She was quite a backstabber at times. She would talk about her friends behind their backs and tear them down, and the next minute she was their best friend in the entire world. This really annoyed me, but then again, isn’t that a real character? Someone who annoys us but also makes us love them?
Sophie Flack’s debut novel is incredible. It’s a different type of book – one that has us flipping pages until the end for a new reason – we want to know Hannah’s decision. This book was about Hannah and the problems that faced her – ones that tore her down, and picked her up. The epilogue was done well. I feel it was both needed for the right reason – we found out what she did with her freedom, without being told – I was given a scene instead of a description, which I really enjoyed. This book is a perfect pick for anyone who needs something to rededicate them or learn a thing or two about a different world. A fantastic read.
— Willa, age 14
About the Book:
Author: Sophie Flack
Release Date: 10/2011