Author: Sophie Flack
Publication Date: 10/10/2011
Source: Purchased (Thanks to the Stages on Pages tour, it's signed!)
"My name is Hannah Ward. Don't call me a ballerina."
Hannah, a senior member of the corps de ballet of the Manhattan Ballet, vaguely remembers a time before she started dancing. Those were the times she could watch movies with her parents on the couch eating popcorn and those times were years ago. Now Hannah spends the majority of her life at the studio practicing and performing, hoping that she'll be made a soloist. That's what she wants - isn't it?
That Hannah doesn't get to do normal things can be summed up in the fact that she's been trying to get through Frankenstein for over a year. She reconciles this with the knowledge that she is a dancer, and dancers have to make sacrifices. This can't be any more apparent when she meets Jacob, a normal college student, and they begin the first friendship Hannah's had outside of her peers. What I liked most about her interactions with Jacob is that they highlight how she is socially unsure of herself and of what to do in everyday situations. This meeting starts a chain of awareness within herself, forcing Hannah to evaluate her life. Sophie really did a fantastic job of getting across how tough the life of a dancer is and how far removed they can be from what you might consider an average life. While I don't know any ballet terms except for perhaps plié, the terminology blended nicely into the flow of the action and I never once questioned what was going on. If you're aware of the lingo then you might better appreciate just how hard they're being pushed, but if you don't I wouldn't worry about it too much, as you can get the feel of it by the scene.
Bunheads is a fast-paced, realistic story about choice and dedication and how they interrelate. Whether or not you like dance, this is a book full of rich characterisations and situations that almost anyone can relate to on some level.