Bunheads by Sophie Flack: Review


Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Published: Poppy 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardback from the library
Other books: this was her first book! 
Buy it from – Barnes & Noble – Amazon – Twitter
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah’s universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other “bunheads” in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

First of all – this book may appear from the summary to be a romance book. That is not at all what this book is about. Okay, there is a little romance and a bit of a love triangle (it ends within the chapter, don’t worry), but it does not rule the plot. The main part of this book is about the world of ballet. Focus on this when you chose to read the book or not. 
For me, I used to be a ballet dancer and was almost as dedicated as Hannah – practiced every day with multiple shows. Did I live by myself in Manhattan? Nope. Hannah does though and that is super cool. 
Saying that, I had a deep connection going into the book because it related to me. Bunheads focuses on the problems that dancers have, including myself, focusing on their dedication to their career more than anything else. They struggle to have lives outside of dance which is mostly where Jacob – the love interest – comes into the story. Jacob’s character brings in the story of the world and brings Hannah to the conclusion that she is missing something. 
In the end, I really liked the way it turned out. This book did not make the world of ballet fluffy or light – it was dark and gritty like the real dance world is, partially in thanks to the author being herself a dancer. It felt almost autobiographical. However, I did have some problems with the book. 
The first problem was that the dancers never eat in the book and are praised for this. The main problem is that dancers have to eat and in fact eat more than any people I know. They burn off so many calories a day that it would be impossible to only eat white rice or whatever they came up with in the book. I do trust Sophie Flack as an author and retired dancer not to glorify this, but it does bother me that people outside of the dance world will see this as the norm. 
The book is also short and takes place over one year. This timing pushes the characters along rather quickly so Jacob and Hannah’s romance may seem like insta-love. However, the chapters cover long periods of time. The spacing of the book could have been more broken up to better tell the story. Hannah goes through deep involvement during this story and I really liked that aspect of the book. 


One thought on “Bunheads by Sophie Flack: Review

  1. I have forgotten all about this book. I love the cover and used to dance for many years growing up at a super serious dance studio (it's the studio on the show Dance Mom's actually)… so I always like books and movies about dancers for the most part. Great Review!!

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