BOOK REPORT for Unlovely by Celeste Conway

Cover Story: En Pointe

BFF Charm: Yay

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

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Talky Talk: He Said

Bonus Factor: Dance School

Anti-Bonus Factor: Crazy Girls

Relationship Status: Have a Good Life

 Unlovely

Cover Story: En Pointe

Unlovely is a book about ballerinas who often dance in white tutus. So, the cover is very accurate. One might even say…on point.

The Deal:

Harley’s back in his small town for the summer after a year away at college. Nothing much has changed—his friends are still bumming around town, working on fishing boats or in the local cafe. The wealthy people who summer in the town are opening their homes and having their boats readied for the season. The dancers who attend Ocean Watch Academy, the prestigious ballet school on the hill, have arrived. Even though his ex-girlfriend is pregnant and about to marry a guy who no one (even the ex) likes, Harley thinks the summer is going to be a good one. Particularly when he meets the new girl at Ocean Watch Academy, Cassandra, and the lines between townies and spoiled rich ballerinas begins to blur.

BFF Charm: Yay

Harley is a really great guy. He’s cute, he’s personable, he reads poetry. He’s not content to stay in his tiny town without at least seeing what else the world has to offer, but he’s not rubbing it in the faces of the friends who chose to stay behind. When he meets Cassandra, he treats her carefully—she’s only recently healed from a badly broken heart—and sweetly. But when things get a little suspicious and mysterious, he doesn’t back down from his gut feelings or what he knows to be true, even when this causes strife.

Harley would make a great friend, and an even better boyfriend, but the feelings he has for his ex (even while dating Cassandra—one can’t help having residual feelings for their first love, so I don’t fault him for this) make it pretty obvious that the former wouldn’t happen.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Harley and Cassandra hit it off right away, but there’s nothing really swoony about their relationship. Cassandra comes off flighty and even a little obnoxious, too, so I never really became invested in the two of them together.

Talky Talk: He Said

So many YA novels are written from a female perspective, so it’s nice to occasionally read one with a male POV. Celeste Conway writes a believable guy in Unlovely; although, I should mention that I’m not entirely sure what a guy’s mind is like, seeing I’ve never been inside one. The worldbuilding in Unlovely was so close to being great, too. The small town with its fancy shops and mansions that are empty most of the year was an interesting place, but I didn’t quite learn enough about it to satisfy my curiosity. Neither was the suspense behind the story fleshed out as much as I would have liked.

Bonus Factor: Dance School

Although we didn’t get to read about the daily ongoings of Ocean Watch Academy, we did get to hear about some of the antics through Cassandra’s eyes. It made me think of Center Stage—only the best dance movie ever. And anything that reminds me of Center Stage gets an immediate checkmark in the pros column.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Crazy Girls

The young women who attend Ocean Watch Academy are seen by the townie guys as unattainable and strange. This is partly because they’re just kind of aloof and don’t mingle with people from town much…and it’s partly because some of them be seriously cray.

Casting Call:

Alexander Ludwig as Harley

Katelyn Pacitto as Cassandra

Relationship Status: Have a Good Life

It was fun escaping into your small town suspense for a little while, Book, but every summer adventure comes to an end. I’m not entirely sure I’m up for another visit, but I do wish you the very best for your future.

Unlovely will be available January 2.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.