Although I typically cringe at fiction that runs so parallel to an author’s biography, only the ending of this little novel frustrated me with that “decided to become a writer instead” bit of similarity. The beginning and middle of the story held my interest, despite my lack of ballet knowledge, with the sheer intensity of desire the characters shared. Sophie Flack captured that well–no doubt explicitly because she was writing what she knows.
Motivation is slim enough–hinging on the dancer’s drosophila-like lifespan, so get your 5 minutes of fame while you can. After struggling to depict strong motivations for the two primary competitors in my story about world-class equestrians, I’m rewarded to find how plausible these girls’ dedication seems with nothing more substantial than that. And the story doesn’t require much in the way of subplotting either. To stay focused on this intense goal or not to stay so focused, that is the question–and really the only question (other than a slight foray into a love triangle, and the complications of competing against your only friends). Yet the book swirls with dances and dressing rooms, Pilates and Chinese take-out, filling a reader’s head with the experience of a strange and heady world.