Released: March 1st 2012
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
As a dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is living her childhood dream. She gets to be up on stage in front of adoring crowds every night. And while she might not be a prima ballerina yet, she's moving up the ranks and surely if she works hard enough she can make it happen.
But devoting her whole life to ballet leaves very little time for anything else: friends, family, school have all fallen by the wayside. Hannah doesn't mind, until a chance encounter in a restaurant brings Jacob into her life. He's cute, he plays guitar and he's offering a whole future that Hannah never considered. And now she must choose between her lifelong dream or what could be the love of her life... (from Goodreads)
Bunheads was a refreshing contemporary novel, with an intriguing concept. While I did enjoy it, however, it just wasn’t my kind of book. I really liked how different it was from a lot of other books in its genre, and seeing into the backstage world of ballet was fascinating, and gave me a lot of insight into what ballet really involves; gruelling training, fierce dedication and sacrifice. After a while though, I felt things got a little repetitive, and I personally don’t really have much of an interest in ballet, so I feel like certain details that others would have appreciated were wasted on me.
Hannah was a very interesting character. She’d been devoted to ballet since she was a child, and her entire life revolved around it. Her descriptions about her training and rehearsals actually surprised me a bit, I didn’t realise just how intense and competitive it could be. I definitely don’t think I could deal which the pressure Hannah and the other dancers were under. When Hannah met Jacob, a regular college guy, she started to realise that there was more to life than ballet. Though she loved dancing, she wanted to experience other things, and I could definitely understand how she was feeling. I liked Hannah, but I do think she made a lot of stupid choices and she could be a bit dense at times. I felt a little disconnected to her towards the end, because of the suddenness of her decision, but I think she was a great main character overall. It was great to see how she slowly changed over the course of the book, and I’m happy with the way things ended for her.
Jacob was a character I felt we could have gotten to know a little more. The book was really very concentrated on Hannah and her problems, and while I liked the depth there, I would have liked to find out more about Jacob, besides the fact he was a musician and a college student. He needed to be fleshed out a little more with more background – he just seemed like a guy who popped up at random sometimes, because we didn’t know much about him. I did like how the other characters were portrayed though, especially Zoe. Zoe was another dancer, and though she was Hannah’s friend, she was also a bitter rival, and the two had a complicated relationship. There was a lot of jealousy and competition between them, and I sort of got the feeling they didn’t really like each other, but there were times where I questioned that thought, and I found their friendship very interesting to read about.
The pacing was pretty slow but I liked it because I enjoyed reading about Hannah’s gradual transition. To be honest, however, my least favourite parts were when Hannah was talking about the technical parts of ballet, mostly because I didn’t really understand what a lot of the moves meant and sort of sighed every time I reached a very ballet-focused part of the book. However, this was just me. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never had a big interest in ballet, but anyone who does have an interest will probably love this book and I’d definitely recommend it.
Overall, Bunheads was an enjoyable read, which would appeal to anyone interested in ballet, or any fans of contemporary novels.