Tiny Pretty Things
Author: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Tiny Pretty Things #1
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 3 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
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.
This book wasn’t particularly good. That was a great way to start off the review wasn’t it? Don’t leave yet. You’ve got to hear me out on this one. It alternates between three different POVs, Gigi, Bette and June – all three girls are students at an elite dance school in New York. There can only be one prima ballerina and these girls will claw their way to the top, doing whatever it takes to get there. This book was basically Gossip Girl for the ballet world. And even though there were a bunch of issues I had with it, I was glued to the pages, sucked into the drama and unable to look away.
Let’s start with the bad. I didn’t like a single one of the characters. Gigi, the new girl from California was so sweet and kind, but it came across as kind of fake to me. And then when she just fell apart? She was pretty strong at the beginning of the book, but then she started dating a guy and suddenly she turned into this huge, whiny baby. That was annoying.
Bette was the epitome of a mean girl. She has a rough home life and at times I felt bad for her, but then she would do something horrible and all those feelings went away. Bette was cruel and vindictive, although I’m still not entirely sure how much of the drama was because of her.
June was also pretty horrible. Again, I felt bad for her in a way. She lost all her friends, her mother never comes to see her dance and is constantly trying to pull her out of the school, but still. The things that she did were not okay.
There are definitely some interesting issues tackled in this book. Race for one. There’s a lot of diversity in this book and talk of how the ballet world wants that flawless, white face in the center of the stage. There were moments when the Korean girls would use makeup to make their eyes look more open and their skin more white. It was sad to see this and I’m not sure how true it is to the ballet world, but I could definitely buy into it and it added an interesting layer to this story.
There was also a lot of discussion about eating disorders and the things these dancers go through to keep their bodies perfect. One of the girls has a serious case of bulimia, keeping her weight below 100 pounds at all times. An instructor at one point pinches a girl’s thigh and tells her to eat more lean meat. It was really sad to see these girls hating on their bodies which I’m sure are perfect. They are under so much pressure not only to dance perfectly, but to maintain their figures, to have the perfect face and don’t forget to keep up their grades in their normal classes. I could definitely see how some of these girls snapped under the pressure.
My problem with this book is that we really got no answers. A lot of pranks are pulled on a certain girl, but we never find out who is responsible for which prank. And I have a feeling it’s going to be some huge twist that comes out of left field, but I would have liked that twist to happen in this book. Goodreads doesn’t show any information for a sequel, but I can’t imagine there’s not going to be one with the ending.
I also wanted there to be more ballet. I mean they’re constantly in class and at rehearsals, but there wasn’t any real description of the dancing. Lots of stretching and warming up. I think the author missed an opportunity to provide some gorgeous imagery. I wanted her to describe the dance moves more, what the girls looked like when they were on stage.
Even with these negatives, the book was highly entertaining. I would definitely call it one of those guilty pleasure books filled with outrageous drama. I’ll definitely be reading the next one because I have to know who is responsible for certain things and what’s going to happen next.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Were you glued to the pages like I was? Has anyone heard anything about a sequel?