By Dhonielle Clayton, Sona Charaipotra
Source Received from the publisher via Edelweiss
Published by HarperTeen
on May 26, 2015
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
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.
I really wanted to read and love this. It was made out as Pretty Little Liars + Black Swan, which got me super excited. I’m a fan of the Pretty Little Liars books and have read the whole series, so anything that gets that kind of comparison absolutely piques my interest. I also love ballet and ballet books.
The story started off interestingly enough. I liked the way chapters alternated between the main characters, who had distinct personalities. It was great to get insight into who they were and why they did the things they did – and believe me, most of them to some awful things, mostly to new girl Gigi, who quickly becomes a target because her talent makes the others see her as a threat: she gets the lead roles, gets the guy, and is genuinely a nice person.
There’s definitely a sense of ‘whodunnit’ because there are so many terrible ‘pranks’ aimed at Gigi. Sometimes the story shows the reader who is responsible, but as the severity of these incidents ramped up, I was unsure exactly who was responsible for what. And I was confused about whether or not I should have been able to figure it out, or if it was supposed to be a mystery for the reader.
Early on, my enthusiasm for this book waned, and it took me a long time to finish reading it. I think part of the problem for me was that it felt like an unrelenting campaign of hate against Gigi, and it was uncomfortable and not enjoyable to read.
There were complex issues in the book, including race, sexual orientation, family dynamics, and eating disorders. I was much more interested in the story when reading about the girls and these elements of their stories than I was in the romantic subplots. The male characters, especially Alec, felt so flat to me.
I was also frustrated with the total lack of resolution. I would guess that there’s going to be a second book, based on the ending, but at this point I can’t tell, and I’m not sure how to handle that ending if this is a stand-alone.
Sadly, I had really high hopes for Tiny Pretty Things and they were not met. I’ve seen some glowing reviews, though, so don’t let my thoughts hold you back from picking this one up if you’re interested!