Title: Tiny Pretty Things
Synopsis: 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.
So, in short… THIS. BOOK.
The gist of it: backstabbing ballerinas, mental health issues, diversity, drama, and STRESS. It was oh, so wonderful. And, I might add SO ADDICTIVE.
If you think this is going to be some cheesy, fluffy story about giggling girls in tutus… HA. Joke’s on you. It was possibly the most stressful and darkest book of ever, but somehow not?? I kid you not, I could not put it down. Not gonna lie, I definitely slacked on some schoolwork to read this one.
Now, let me tell you all of the wonderful bits that make up this novel:
- First of all, we had such a diverse set of characters. We read from three main perspectives: Gigi, June, and Bette. Gigi is an up-and-coming black ballet star with a heart problem who is so loveable and determined. June was a beautiful Korean girl with issues both in her personal life (missing father, etc) as well as both anorexia and bulimia. Both of these disorders were so accurately portrayed through her character, never sugarcoated or glossed over. And Bette… well, I don’t think we were supposed to like Bette. And yet, her character ended up being one of my favorites (does that make me a tiny bit evil? oops?) and her story provided so much depth to the book.
- Also, It made me think. And I can’t stop thinking about it. On the one hand, I’m totally obsessed with the story line. But on another level, it also addressed so many important ideas and issues, and the ways the characters thought and felt was (for the most part) genuine and real.
- Not to mention, The level of actual dancing was perfect. As a dancer, every single thing I love and emotion I feel about dancing was described perfectly. Multiple times, I just found myself thinking: yes. It made me want to strut around in my pointe shoes and a huge tutu. But, to the non-dancer, it was not overladen with lengthy descriptions of dancing or long, confusing french terms.
- Lastly, it was so addicting. After being in a month-long slump, I read this 400-page beast in 3 days. I completely devoured it.The story and the writing sucked me in, along with the need to just know everything.
However, I do have a few nit-picky bits:
- To be honest, I didn’t really like Gigi’s character. She didn’t really have any depth other than being a victim to the other girls’ torment, and because of that, she wasn’t really interesting. She was oh-so-perfect and dedicated and beautiful, but she didn’t have much dimension beyond how she reacted to the other girls and her just ignoring her own serious physical condition.
- Alright, and let’s be honest: Would the events in this book ever happen in real life? Somehow I doubt it (and I sure hope not). (Although who knows—I could be 100% wrong. I’ve never gone to a cutthroat dance school.) Admittedly, some of the backstabbing got downright ridiculous and silly. I think, however, that the serious issues that the book addressed made up for that many times over.
All in all, I was completely obsessed with this book. I wouldn’t recommend it lightly—there were a lot of very serious topics within the book, and I definitely had a huge case of second-hand stress while reading it. But that said, it was a phenomenally crafted book, and I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be reading the next book very soon.