Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Publisher: Atom
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.


  1. Sorry this wasn't a better read for you. I've been looking forward to reading it as I used to love reading books about ballet and dance schools when I was younger (even though I've never danced myself...just used to like reading about them for some reason!) I'll hopefully get around to reading this one soon when I'm in a contemp mood! :)

  2. I really want to read this one because while I don't have a huge interest in the back stage world of ballet I always enjoy watching movies about this topic. I figure if I enjoy watching ballet and movies including forms of dance that I might actually enjoy learning more about it.

    Thanks for the great review, sorry that this wasn't to your personal taste.

  3. I've heard only iffy things about this one, so I'll probably end up pushing it waaaaay off.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. I've heard mixed things about this book . . . doesn't sound like my kind of read but great and honest review!

  5. Shame this wasn't really for you! But I totally understand your issues. I don't often read dance books for the same reason and definitely a lot of details that others would appreciate, would be lost on me. That being said, I do like to branch outside of my comfort zone at times *looks at a recent dancey contemporary release on TBR*

    Aside from the dance aspect, very disappointing to hear about some of the characters, particular the male lead because we love us a swoony, fleshed out guy.

    Despite your issues, I'm glad you still enjoyed it. Fab review, Liz!

  6. LOL "I don't really like ballet, but I read this book which centered on it anyway..." shame you didn't enjoy this one; it's got an interesting premise and I thought all the ballet stuff might add another dimension. I hate it when a love interest isn't explored though. Probs wont read this one

    The Cait Files

  7. This is pretty much the first I've heard of this one. The premise sounds interesting though- I tend to enjoy reading books in which the main character has a passion. It's fascinating to read about someone who devotes so much time to one thing.

  8. Hm, don't know about this one. Sounds intriguing and is probably going to haunt me until I read it, but... Hm. Inner turmoil.
    Haha, great review.

    Check out my blog? I reviewl books, music and movies. I would love it.

  9. I have been intrigued to read this one. I think the cover is gorgeous and it's been a while since I read a book about dancers! I definitely need to add this to my To-Read list!

    Awesome review, Liz! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Nice review. I have seen this around a bit and I'm 50/50. When I did my degree my dissertation was on Degas and a lot of it looked at his ballet dancers and I learnt a lot about the 'backstage world'. I think for that reason I would read the book but at the same time, it's been on the bookshelf at work for a while and I haven't bought it!

  11. It seems like kind of a shame that the love interest wasn't a more prominent character, especially if he triggered this whole second guessing in Hannah. I'm also sorry you didn't enjoy it more! I can see how it would be a total hit or miss type of thing... I'm actually not sure where I would fall (I love ballet and the technical aspect but not sure HOW MUCH I would be able to take, espcially just reading about it).

    Hannah's relationship with Zoe sounds SO FASCINATING. I kind of want to read it and (over)analyze right now... It's probably realistic to have them as not-really-friends-but-not-really-enemies... I'm curious about how they would interact with each other! :)

    Great review, Liz! <3 I can't believe I didn't see it earlier... D:



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