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Sophie Flack danced with the New York City Ballet from 2000 until 2009. She is currently studying English at Columbia University. BUNHEADS is her first novel.
Exhilaration and drudgery, passion and exhaustion, exist side by side for dancers in the exalted Manhattan Ballet, a world unto itself, which Flack (a former New York City Ballet dancer) brings vividly to life in this strong debut. Supported by her parents, Hannah moves to Manhattan alone at age 14 to pursue her dream; by 19 she is a senior corps dancer. Hannah finds gratification in the self-discipline and relentless cycle of rehearsals and performances, all in pursuit of perfect beauty, presentation, and a possible solo. However, she's also frustrated with her insular life. The ballet's dependence on wealthy patrons offers a window into the lives of the super-rich, which depresses Hannah, and the physical demands of her work take a toll on her ("To anyone on the outside... I look thin and willowy.... But in the world of the Manhattan Ballet, my figure is apparently unacceptable"). After meeting Jacob, an NYU student and musician, Hannah feels increasingly torn between her love for ballet and the temptations of normal life. Readers, both dancers and "pedestrians" (the corps' term for nondancers), will find Hannah's struggle a gripping read. Ages 15-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 8 Up-Hannah Ward is a 19-year-old dancer with the Manhattan School of Ballet. She moved to New York City and joined the company when she was 14, and her one goal is to be promoted to soloist from corps dancer. Readers see that the life of a ballerina is physically grueling and all-consuming; there is no time for anything else. With performances almost every night and dance classes every day, Hannah rarely sees her parents, never eats as much as she would like, and spends all her time in the company of other dancers who are competing for the same coveted spots. Still, the beauty and physicality of dance have always made the sacrifices worthwhile. On a rare night out, the teen meets Jacob and begins to question her dedication. Does she have what it takes to be a soloist? Does she even want it anymore? Flack, who danced with the New York City Ballet for nine years, has written Hannah's story with an insider's knowledge and expertise. The result is an entertaining read, shedding light on a world most readers know nothing about. After the success of the Oscar-winning Black Swan, this title will appeal to dancers and those with two left feet.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This romantic and compelling story is one of passion, love and rivalry - you'll be captivated. - CloserExhilaration and drudgery, passion and exhaustion, exist side by side for dancers in the exalted Manhattan Ballet, a world unto itself, which Flack (a former New York City Ballet dancer) brings vividly to life in this strong debut. Readers, both dancers and "pedestrians" (the corps' term for nondancers), will find Hannah's struggle a gripping read. - Publishers WeeklyStarred Review: [The author] 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. - Kirkus