Georgia’s first year at a prestigious Toronto ballet academy is fraught with conflicts arising from her parents’ disintegrating marriage and the blurred lines between her awakening sexuality and a most physical art form.
For the 14-year-old, the realization that her father, a married psychiatrist, had an affair with her mother when she was his student in college is one factor leading to her own obsession with her ballet teacher. Every touch in ballet class, meant as a correction to placement, is viewed as erotic. Spiraling downward, she photographs herself in the same pose as an online porn model, wraps the pictures in her thong and leaves them in his desk. Her family and the adults at the academy assume that she was the victim of a nonexistent exploitation, and Georgia is initially unable to voice an explanation or an apology. Another disturbing chain of events at the ballet academy leads a not-quite-thin-enough girl to anorexia. Schabas, in her debut title, does not include much detail about ballet class or rehearsal. Rather, she offers a penetrating glimpse into the troubled world of teen anxiety, compulsive behavior and peer pressure as seen through the eyes of a young woman with heightened sensory perceptions.
A thought-provoking look at femininity and sex, made all the more confusing by that ultimate contact sport—ballet. (Fiction. 14-18)