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Magan: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

book cover for bunheads by sophie flack, books about ballet dancersBunheads by Sophie Flack [website | twitter]
Publication Date: October 10, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 304
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: Paperback received from Sash at Sash and Em

Summary: Hannah is a 19-year-old professional ballet dancer. She finds herself torn between trying to get promoted in her company and wanting to explore more of the world around her. Meeting Jacob awakens her sense of discovery and complicates everything.

I’ve always been the girl obsessed with dance movies (can I get an amen for Channing Tatum in Step Up and how many times have I re-watched Center Stage?!). I love everything about them – the music, the emotion, the way an entire story can be told without words in a performance.

When Sasha heard I was interested in Bunheads, she thoughtfully sent me her copy. (Thanks so much, Sash!) Inside this beautiful book, I found all of my favorite elements of a dance movie, in addition to getting a glimpse at the inner workings of a ballet company. Author Sophie Flack was a professional dancer; there should be no doubt that while this story is fictional, she gives us the most authentic insider’s scoop on what it’s like to constantly be in competition with your peers.

Hannah wanted nothing more than to gain a spot as a soloist. BUT, so did every other girl in the company. These girls worked day in and day out with one another; while they were competitive, they were also forced to be friends. Hannah’s greatest competition was also a girl who shared her dressing room. They griped and complained to one another, judged each other’s performances, and confided in each other about the pressure to remain fit and thin. They had little ability to have a life outside of the dance studios. The girls are older – Hannah is 19 – and I found it refreshing to read about characters who were in this pivotal, life-defining period of their life.

On a random (rare) night out, Hannah meets Jacob. He’s intrigued by Hannah and actively pursues her. Insert the struggles she faces. She wants to spend time with him too, but also feels like she’s thisclose to being promoted. The romantic in me wished so many times for more Jacob. However, after much deliberation, I’ve decided that I wouldn’t have felt the turmoil Hannah went through if everything had been easy breezy with Jacob. I kept hoping that absence would make the heart grow fonder. (And I won’t be the one to spoil what happens between these two.)

The pacing in Bunheads was absolutely perfect. Time seemed to pass by exactly as it was described (dontcha hate when you’re reading a book and that’s not the case?). The character development was enough that I had a good idea of who everyone was and could understand the motives behind their actions. In a book where dance truly is a main focal point, I never felt overwhelmed by the ballet-speak. I felt as though things were explained well and I could envision the graceful dances as they went through the motions.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves dance or a sweet, understated story. It was Bunheads by Sophie Flack that pulled me up out of my reading slump and introduced me to a world very different than most other young adult books I read. Definitely pick this one up and allow yourself to be whisked away into the world of dance and competition.

Goodreads | Amazon

May 26, 2013 - 8:19 pm

Cami - I read this book, I loved it, it’s one of those books who make me feel like I’m the main character (in most of the books I read that happens) and this pushed me to go back to ballet classes, it brought my hidden passion for ballet out again. It’s amazing I really do recommend it.
(Excuse my English, It’s not my main language so yeah)

December 11, 2012 - 8:00 am

Bookish Gift Suggestions: Books for the Non-Reader - […] by Sophie Flack – Goodreads | Amazon | My Review – This book would be excellent for an older teen or young adult reader who is trying to find […]

July 10, 2012 - 12:32 am

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books That Have Flown Under the Radar - […] Sometimes books can be overly complicated with too many issues; it was a nice change of pace to read about a 19-year-old girl indecisive about her future – to continue to pursue being a professional ballerina or to move on with her life – that was her struggle. goodreads / amazon / M’s review […]

June 18, 2012 - 3:28 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - Okay, first of all – YES to Channing Tatum in Step Up. The boy is HOT. And also, I love Center Stage! It was one of my favorite movies to watch over and over again when I was still in high school.

And now, about the book – it sounds like I would really love this one. I mean, it features ballet! That’s already enough reason for me to like it. Glad you enjoyed it!

June 9, 2012 - 11:47 am

April Books & Wine - This may sound dumb, but I find dance to be SO boring. Like I cannot even sit through dancing with the stars without wanting to slit my wrists. Okay, that’s hyperbole. But, if it’s a dance movie like Center Stage or Dirty Dancing, I will watch the HECK out of it. Same with books. I love fictionalized dance, but not real dance.

SO ALL OF THE DRAMA OF BUNHEADS? Yeah I am down for getting swept away into the world of competition. Legit review, yo.

May 31, 2012 - 9:49 pm

Sash from Sash and Em - Love love love that you loved it. It’s so understated and that’s what I adored. 🙂

May 30, 2012 - 9:02 am

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase - I have had this on my TBR list for a while, but I really think I should read it ASAP, because I just finished catching up with the show Dance Academy (which you should totally give a try if you haven’t already – I think you’d really love it. It’s on Instant Netflix right now!) and I’m feeling a major ballet ache. I danced for 12 years, mostly ballet, and I really miss it. Thanks for this great review – I’m going to go get this one ASAP!

May 28, 2012 - 8:56 pm

Liz - Ahh this totally sounds Center Stage-esque, I love it. Thanks for pointing this one out, I hadn’t heard of yet, I will put it on my to read list.

And hell yes to Channing Tatum in Step Up.

May 28, 2012 - 8:17 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Oh, and P.S. That cover? So totally awesome.

May 28, 2012 - 8:17 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Great review! I agree, this was a fantastic little book, and such a breath of fresh air. I can’t wait to see what Sophie comes up with next!

May 28, 2012 - 8:13 pm

Aneeqah - For some reason, I was thinking about Dance Moms as I read this review [I think that’s because that’s the only dance related show that I’ve seen recently]. Anyways, this sounds like a very interesting book! I haven’t heard of this one before, but after reading your review, I think I’ll be adding it to the TBR now. I haven’t really read a dance book before, and this book sounds like the perfect one to try out. Great review! =)

-Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

May 28, 2012 - 8:05 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - I can’t dance to save my life, but I LOVE dance movies. So much. I also refused to do ballet as a child because I said that I wouldn’t wear pink & couldn’t stand tights. Haha! However, I love things involving ballet, so this sounds good. And I just saw the preview of an ABC Family show of the same name (is it based off the book?) and the Executive Producer was the creator of Gilmore Girls which I loved… so I’m basically saying I was already interested in this book & now I’m convinced.

May 28, 2012 - 5:29 pm

VeganYANerds - You’ve convinced me that I need to read this! I’m a sucker for dance movies and tv shows so this really appeals to me!

May 28, 2012 - 9:34 am

Jen - SEE, I loved this book, too. I read it awhile back, so I don’t remember ALL the details, but I remember enjoying Hannah and Jacob and thinking they were totally adorable.

May 28, 2012 - 7:25 am

Lori - I was curious about this one when it released but I haven’t heard much about it. I’m so happy to hear that you liked it. I’m adding it to my wish list right now.

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