Three girls compete for two coveted company spots in New York’s prestigious American Ballet Company, and someone is willing to kill for them.
Gossip Girl meets Black Swan in Charaipotra and Clayton’s drama-filled sequel to Tiny Pretty Things (2015), which returns readers to the privileged Upper East Side dance conservatory and a world fueled by diet pills, dirty secrets, and unbridled ambition. This novel’s diverse cast of ballerinas retains its delightful adolescent cattiness, though each girl has been shaken and hardened, still haunted by the events of the first book. Once again, three protagonists rotate narration: Gigi, the talented black outsider whose career was nearly ended by deadly hazing, June, the Korean-American girl from the wrong side of the Queensboro Bridge, and Bette, the white, wealthy, disgraced former queen bee, determined to prove her innocence. Each girl’s emotional battle with perfectionism feels individual and brutally authentic. The book’s astute focus on ballet’s ability to enrich, ennoble, and also consume the lives of its dancers is what provides this story with its delicious spark. Equal parts mystery and social commentary, the novel is engrossing and titillating without being hyperbolic, which is a testament to the authors’ talent and a reflection of an art form that simultaneously raises young women to the highest heights while reducing them to shells of themselves.
An addicting thriller that will make anyone who loves ballet clamor for another installment. (Fiction. 14-18)