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Schabas skillfully weaves themes of power, communication, trust, intimacy, and betrayal through this character-driven tale, as 14-year-old ballet dancer Georgia struggles to find a place where she belongs and people she can trust. Uncomfortable with her party-going classmates and caught between a domineering father and an emotional mother, Georgia hopes to find refuge in Toronto's premier ballet academy. However, her acceptance there introduces her to variations on problems she is already dealing with: cruel peers, prohibitively high standards, and another male authority figure whose approval she craves. As Georgia constructs her own narrative about her relationship with her teacher, she realizes that the stories she's been told about her own family contain perplexing inconsistencies; the closer she looks, the more she uncovers omissions, lies, and willful misinterpretations. Naivete and precociousness wrestle within Georgia: unaware of potential health consequences, she innocently coaches a heavier classmate in self-starvation, while, hoping to captivate her teacher, she studies porn for guidance. A robust first-person narrative voice, multidimensional supporting characters, and a suspenseful plot add up to a strong debut. Ages 14-up. Agency: Aitken Alexander Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 10 Up-In this unique coming-of-age story, Georgia is a troubled 14-year-old, and her struggles to understand her burgeoning sexuality and her journey through adolescence are particularly rocky. Her mother is dysfunctional and moody while her father is in a constant state of disapproval of his daughter's ballet aspirations. Having made dance her life, she is ecstatic to be accepted into a prestigious academy in Toronto. While many of her peers experiment with the trappings of femininity like makeup and tight clothes, Georgia remains outwardly innocent looking but thinks about sex obsessively. She explores pornographic websites, fantasizes about men on the subway, and takes nude photos of herself. She develops a crush on Roderick, her ballet instructor, even though his teaching methods are intense and at times inappropriately harsh. Some of the girls suffer under his direction, but Georgia, desperate for approval, flourishes. She interprets his attention as sexual interest and tries to seduce him, almost destroying his career in the process. Just as readers will most likely find the prose to be overly descriptive and wordy, they will likely find Georgia's actions to be at times unbelievable. As disturbing as it is, there is also something compelling about her story, and readers will want to see it through to the end.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.