Published: Poppy (October 10, 2011)
Source: finished copy from publisher in exchange for honest review.
GoodReads Summary: 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?
My Thoughts: I'll be the first to admit that I don't know anything about ballet. Before watching Black Swan a couple weeks ago, I knew even LESS than nothing. And in Bunheads, there's A LOT of ballet. You probably could've gathered that by the cover and the title, yes.
Despite that, I'm very happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Hannah is an extremely flawed protagonist. She's immature (despite being 19. YAY POST-HIGH SCHOOL MC!), naive, and has devoted the last million years of her life to ballet. She knows nothing other than dance. NO BOYS OR ANYTHING. And no food. She and I would not be friends. Lucky for her, not one, but TWO boys show mass amounts of interest in her. One of whom is lovable and adorable Jacob Cohen. The boy is smooth. He plays a guitar and he LIKES food. Hannah could learn some things from him. AND SHE DOES.
I have to give it up to Hannah for sticking it out with ballet as long as she did, though. This isn't really a spoiler, but she already looks like an adolescent boy. Yet they told her her BOOBS are too big. This part invoked some massive anger within me. The girl already doesn't have a life, let the poor thing enjoy having boobs.
Sophie Flack writes a hell of a good cast of characters. As much as I didn't care for the paragraphs explaining the ballerinas' every move--I skimmed these parts--I loved the vibrant characters she brought to the table. BFF Bea, frenemy rival Zoe, binge eating Daisy... I loved them all. There's not much that pleases me more than when I find a book where the friendships feel authentic. Not all gooey and full of yesmen/yeswomen, either. REAL friendships that come with tough love and cattiness. Girlfriends can be bitches and I'm glad Flack wrote them that way.
I am shocked that I liked this as much as I did. There were lots of lessons learned and Hannah grew as a character by the end of Bunheads. This was an enjoyable coming-of-age story with a super sweet romance. Whether you like ballet or not (like I said, I skimmed the descriptions of grand jetes and flying leap twirly-whirls), I suggest you check out Bunheads!