Author: Sophie Flack
Date(s) read: February 20 – 22, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
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?
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a copy of this book for review!
I love dance. Of course, I can’t dance, but that’s beyond the point. Whenever I see a dance movie on TV or see a book that’s dance-related, I have to watch or read them. There’s just something so beautiful about dancers, something so graceful, that I feel like some of that grace might rub off onto me and my clumsy ways.
This book, however, isn’t all grace. It starts off with the love of dance — ballet — in the spotlight for the main character, Hannah, who had been dancing all of her life and always wanted to be a ballerina. But while she loves dancing, the book takes us through a year of her being a corps dancer, showing us many of the struggles a professional dancer has to go through.
I felt like part of me could related to this novel because I had always dreamed of being a big-time musician — but then I learned how much work it would take to actually make a living from it and shied away from the whole idea. It’s not that I was lacking ambition, but I always hated the idea of being away from my home base for so long, not being able to forge real friendships, and never seeing my family. So, I felt like I could empathize with Hannah wanting to see the world and wanting to learn and grow as a character.
Bunheads was quite a wonderful novel. There were times when I was in awe of Hannah and her discipline to her career, but at other times I felt so sorry for her having to live in the bubble that career creates for its employees. The word “sacrifice” doesn’t even begin to cut it. I loved it when Hannah tried to have romantic relationships, but then her career would suck her back in again and the relationship would fall by the wayside.
As usual, I felt myself pulled in by the romantic relationships. I felt kind of like the guys Hannah kept trying to date, only getting a little piece of her outside of the company — I felt frustrated, but I think that’s how I was supposed to feel. I did like her romantic choices, but was kind of saddened how one of them turned out.
In the end, this was a novel I could see myself reading again. It ended with a lot of hope and I finished feeling quite thoughtful about the whole business of ballet. Getting an insiders look of how things happy behind the curtains was quite eye opening. I hope that Sophie Flack writes more books like this one. Seeing as she was a former ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet, I can see her having more inspiring stories to tell.