Hannah has always dreamed of becoming a ballerina and living “the most amazing, wonderful, and crazy life.”
Now 19 and a corps member of the Manhattan Ballet (read: New York City Ballet), she is determined to be promoted to soloist. Her life revolves around company class, rehearsals and performances during the fall, winter and spring seasons that she chronicles. Food—or how little of it to eat—is a constant topic of conversation, and exercise classes fill whatever free time remains. Two new boyfriends, one a downtown musician and the other an uptown patron, raise conflicts in her mind. The realization that she has never been kissed or seen anything of Manhattan outside Avery Center (read: Lincoln Center) begins to trouble her. The author danced with City Ballet for several years before being let go in a budget downsize. She excels at label-dropping, describing friendships tinged with jealousy and detailing every step required to break in toe shoes. More to the point, she brilliantly captures the arc from soaring ballerina to exhausted dancer collapsing in a pool of sweat and the crushing disappointment of not becoming a soloist, forever doomed to dance corps roles. Details have been changed, but fans of ballet will nonetheless relish the inside scoop.
A multi-layered and absorbing good read by a promising debut novelist. (Fiction. 13 & up)