Monday, February 6, 2017

Three Reasons to Read Tiny Pretty Things

I adore books about performing arts. From Brandy Colbert's Pointe to Elizabeth Eulberg's Take a Bow, I can never turn away from a story set on stage. I added Tiny Pretty Things to my TBR as soon as I heard about it, and I was not disappointed; it features some of my favorite elements of the performing arts novel as well as stunning writing. Here are just three of the reasons any arts aficionado should give Tiny Pretty Things a shot.

the book


Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton | Goodreads

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: May 26, 2015
Source: Library
Series: Tiny Pretty Things, #1
Black Swan 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.

three reasons to read it

Tiny Pretty Things features plenty of plotting, conniving, harassing, and backstabbing as hyper-competitive ballerinas try to take their competition out of commission. With attacks that range from average bullying to near-deadly threats, students at the academy must constantly watch their backs, and readers are forced to do the same. As the new girl who has found quick success, Gigi gets the worst of the tormenting, and while the authors reveal the culprit behind a few cruel acts directed toward her, many more are left blameless. As a result, the story becomes a thrilling mystery, keeping readers desperate for the next chapter—and, ultimately, the sequel.

And although this bullying and sabotage is unprofessional, it never feels trivial or petty; instead, it is enacted out of a deep psychological need to be on top, to earn the leading role, to be noticed by the professionals. While this truth does not excuse the characters' behavior, it compels the readers to take the plot seriously and gives the story an incisive, dangerous tone.

Bette is white, June is half Korean, and Gigi is black, and their respective races play a role in their character development without overpowering the plot. Bette's music-box image—pale skin and light blonde hair—perfectly matches the appearance of the ideal Russian ballerina, contributing to her belief that she was born to be a dancer and fueling her determination to be the best. June's inability to fit in with either the school's Korean clique or the other students makes her a perpetual understudy whose roles lack chemistry with her fellow performers. And Gigi's status as one of only two black ballerinas at the conservatory draws ultimate attention to her rise to the top.

Tiny Pretty Things is not necessarily a novel about race—I'd first call it a book about ballet, competition, and sabotage—but its diverse set of main characters provides a dimension for character development, offers opportunities for discussions about race, and realistically reflects the changing face of the ballet world.

The writing style in Tiny Pretty Things is subtly stunning, smooth and lyrical without being so ornate as to detract attention from the plot. Vivid and eloquent, it courses with the emotions of the story—passion, betrayal, ambition, exhilaration—making readers relate to every nuanced feeling of the characters. Complete with recurring images of broken glass—glass broken out of anger, glass broken out of spite, and more—to match the cover, Sona Charaipotra's and Dhonielle Clayton's combined style left me reveling in its resplendence.

Have you read Tiny Pretty Things? Were you as addicted and entranced as I was? Let me know in the comments.

2 comments:

  1. I'll have to read this. Being a performing arts student for so many years I love books about the performing arts too but somehow never come across all that many.

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  2. I've been meaning to read this for a while but for some reason I never picked it up. But you've definitely reminded me why I was so intrigued by it in the first place. Thanks for sharing Emily and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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