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.
Man, I don’t know.
This book was kind of all over the place. Everyone in this book was just, so, mean. With the petty pranks, the jealousy, the backstabbing, the cheating and everything else it was just shocking. BUT, I can’t lie, I actually enjoyed this story. It’s full of completely unlikable characters, complex characters actually.
We are in three perspectives, Gigi, Bette and June and they all basically compete for a big roll in the upcoming dance shows. Throughout the story, there’s vicious pranks, name calling, dating but there’s some pretty serious problems each of the main characters go through.
Gigi: One of the only black girls in their ballet group (whoops, I forgot if she’s the only black girl in the school or level). She’s sweet, caring bur has a serious heart condition that no one knows about. She’s often the victim of bullying because she’s one of the best dancers and also because she’s black.
Bette: Probably the most malicious one of all. Right from the start, she loses her star role and her boyfriend, curtsy of Gigi. In result, she begins to torment the poor girl and becomes a tad bit obsessive and will do anything to get back her spotlight and her on/off again boyfriend. Although not said explicitly, she has a prescription drug problem.
June: She’s half Korean and Half Caucasian. She has become Gigi’s understudy for the most part but also seems to be a loner, despite Gigi’s attempts to befriend her. However, she does seem to have trouble staying in her lane and often snoops around. June has a lot of baggage, including being on the brink of an eating disorder.
As you can see, these characters far from being 2 dimensional. There’s also other character such as Alex( Gigi’s boyfriend and Bette’s ex), Will (carries heavy guilt) Henri(all about the drama). Like the main 3, these characters also have a compelling role in the story.
The book also explores the themes of the pressures of competition and parents. Pressure can really deteriorate a person, limb from limb and it was interesting to see. Racism is also discuss and how POC struggle to rise above in the ballet industry. Eating disorders and drugs became a reoccurring themes. There were just a lot of depth in the story in general, making me never bored
But man, these characters were ruthless. Like, they did a lot of stuff that were over the line. I absolutely hated Bette. It went to the point where it was hard for me to feel bad for her when I think I was supposed to. I liked and hated June at times. Mostly, she would just extremely judgmental and slightly hypocritical and irrational. She has a feud with the other Korean ballerinas and she holds one of their secrets that they might like the opposite sex. JUNE’S PROBLEM IS THAT SHE STRUGGLES TO STAY IN HER LANE BECAUSE DESPITE HOW MUCH YOU MIGHT HATE SOMEONE YOU SHOULDN’T BE THE ONE TO TELL PEOPLE BECAUSE THAT’S A PERSONAL DECISION NOT YOUR DECISION. OUTING SOMEONE IS NEVER OK.
Some of the stuff these girls did made me uncomfortable because I don;t understand how they can get away with what they did. Like um, where are the adults in this?!?!?!
It was difficult for me to get behind any of the romances. I felt like Gigis and Alex were a bit insta-lovey and moved way too fast. Bette’s obsession with them also didn’t help either. Like she was really POSSESSIVE over Alex. Overall, everyone’s relationships (friendships and love interests) seemed weirdly unnatural to me. I wish the relationships were more flushed out and slowed down.
Also, there’s this one scene where I almost threw my kindle (this isn’t a spoiler). Gigi was in the teacher’s office really distress and heartbroken about something and then the teacher was like “oh since you’re in here did you have an affair with one of the teachers?” Like what? IS THIS REALLY THE TIME?!?!?!?!?!
The book ended super abruptly and there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. I think I will finish the duology because the drama (even though it’s problematic at times) is addicting as hell.
It’s a fun book with some riveting themes. I don’t think books (or anything in general) about ballerinas are my thing because I tend to not care about that aspect. It’s a good book if you want to read some cut throat drama with a diverse cast of characters. If you like Pretty Little Liars, this might be the book for you.