Pointe | Available for Purchase: Amazon « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Brandy Colbert
Publisher: Speak – Penguin Books USA
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 333, paperback
Received Copy: Personal copy (Amazon had a really great deal for my tight-unemployed budget)
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Speak meets Black Swan in this stunningly dramatic debut novel
All that drama, plus pointe shoes? Yes, please: this is one book that’s bound to make a splash
Theo is better now.
She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abduct or.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Right away I can tell you that I was super thrilled to find a book with a diverse set of characters, races and genders, different backgrounds, this is what I was really happy about when reading the story! When stories tend to give cookie cutter characters, it’s easy to read the monotony so this story, given it’s synopsis and characters, breaks this mold which is refreshing. Main character
Theo is now at the point (no pun intended) where she can grow into an elite ballet dancer if she works hard and puts forth the dedication to possibly take her hobby of ballet life and turn it into a career. While this is happening, mysterious Hosea from school who, is the go-to-guy for certain illegal substances, turns out to be a faux-prodigy piano player now filling in at Theo’s ballet school. This begins a spark between the two, friendship and ultimately a relationship that is hush hush but it gives something to occupy Theo’s brain when she isn’t worrying about ballet or the return of her best friend Donovan. Donovan returning stirs up Theo’s memories of who she used to be and who she used to be with which sets off a chain of events and semi self-destructive state for her.
Theo has a dark past that she’s usually kept hidden mainly because she didn’t know any better and towards the end she comes to terms with how wrong and vulnerable she was when it all happened. Saying something now could change her future and give her unwanted attention having her weigh her decisions daily. Brandy Colbert’s novel brings up some really tough issues that her characters go through: eating disorders, growing up, sexual assault, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug use, Stockholm Syndrome, just to name a few. I never felt like there was too much or too little that Colbert’s novel didn’t cover which was great to read.
WOOHOO! So happy and excited the novel had a diverse cast of characters: black, latino, white…all present which was so refreshing to read! As reader, half the time I usually insert myself as the main character (well the female character anyway haha!) but in my head I don’t always assign a race, even if things are described, but this was still great to see in a YA novel.
Typical Teen Drama…
I liked the fact that there was a real rawness to the characters, they acted like typical teens. Drug use, promiscuous teens–it’s probably not even a drop in the big teen pond of what goes on these days, but certain themes that were a little more on the adult-side were present and I liked that the author didn’t beat around the bush, especially with the sexual aspect. Theo has a vulnerable side just like we all do and you saw that with her timidness towards Hosea in the beginning, hiding her dark secrets, trying to survive high school in one piece. Sometimes YA novels paint sex as this precious, put-up-on-a-pedestal thing, but not every teen experiences this. Some don’t wait. Some don’t want that special moment. Some are confident. Some can’t hold that responsibility, but that’s what makes it real.
To go along with the teen drama, I liked that the issues Colbert explored with Theo’s character were tough and very touchy-subject. Eating disorders. Sexual assault. Sex. These topics can be no-no’s in the young adult world but there are ratios of teens that experience these sorts of traumas/instances which makes the story and characters even more relatable. I think the exposure was good and handled fairly well–Theo had a lot on her plate and at that age, most usually do.
Sometimes I just wanted to shake Theo and be like, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING THEO! You need serious help and need to get it now!, but that’s how you know a book is good–it can get inside you and you development a relationship with the character. In regards to her adult relationship that she had when she was barely a teen left a mark on her and it shows through this inner dialogue. It tended to drive me insane though because while being young and vulnerable sometimes I wanted to just be like, you need to realize how messed up this was and you need to examine this–no more secrets, spill it. Again, for the situation, it was probably pretty accurate, as a reader I just wanted to shake the character.
Throughout the whole book the reader has been built up on Donovan’s return and Theo realizing she needs to confess knowledge that will not only help Donovan but her in the process and it’s discovery felt rushed. I kept realizing how the pages remaining were less and less and thinking that there is so much there has left to be discussed and the audience gets a brief summary. This felt disappointing because I wanted to know a little more about the case, what Donovan was doing, how Theo and her family were coping but Theo is thrown into a new setting and we get a few pages and the official ending. I just had hoped for more.
Really did enjoy this novel. The themed weren’t your typical YA and with the diverse characters I really liked it. Also to be cliche, I couldn’t stop thinking about popping in my Black Swan/Center Stage DVDs to finally get my ballet visual fix. (YES I HAVE SEEN CENTER STAGE AS A GUILTY PLEASURE, DEAL WITH IT!)
Ta ta Linz aka The Kid