Samantha dreams of becoming a professional ballerina like her mom, but her body is changing into one that the ballet world will not accept.
Sam is a truly talented and well-trained dancer, but when the white teen looks at her developing body, she sees fat rolls and thick thighs. She begins having panic attacks, so her mother sends her to a therapeutic camp designed to help teens who perform in some way. There, she tries to avoid eating too much but constantly succumbs. She soon begins to fall for one of the camp counselors, Andrew, even though he’s clearly off limits. Between hours with the camp’s psychologist director and Andrew’s sympathy, Sam begins to make some progress with her self-image, until her attraction to Andrew reaches critical. When another girl tempts her into escaping so she can keep her spot in an upcoming ballet program, things go awry, but the experience also offers her a road to the future. Through Sam’s present-tense narration, Holmes concentrates on demonstrating the benefits of therapy, dissecting Samantha’s emotions and depicting her increasing strength in overcoming her traumas and her difficult relationship with her obsessive mother. The book winds up as almost a paean to clinical psychology, but it should resonate with driven readers and those with their own body issues.
Less about ballet than about therapy, but interesting nevertheless. (Fiction. 12-18)