Bunheads

Bunheads - Sophie Flack (Full review can be found on my blog, Paper Riot.)Note: Before I start I would like to say that 3 stars is NOT a bad thing. I have no idea why some people apologize for giving a book "just" three stars, because to me, that's still good. I liked it a lot. Probably not as much as some other books I have read recently, but still, I thoroughly enjoyed it.I have always been obsessed with dance. From the ballet "lessons" I took as a kid to the hiphop classes I taught when I was a teenager, it has always been a huge part of my life. I have seen pretty much any dance movie (the terrible ones included) and I love going to shows a whole lot. So naturally, when I came across Bunheads, I was very excited. The fact that there was a YA book about ballet, written by a former ballet dancer? That seemed to good to be true. But Bunheads did not disappoint.Where the story is pretty straightforward (it mostly describes Hannah's everyday life as a dancer), its beauty lies in the behind the scenes look. I felt a bit like a fly on the wall in a world that has always been a mystery to me. From the killing rehearsing schedules to the difference between being a group dancer and a soloist, and from sacrifices the dancers have to make to the way things work in a real ballet company. Bitchiness, competition, doing whatever it takes to look a certain way: Flack does an amazing job describing how insanely tough the world of ballet is, and boy, am I glad I don't live in a world like that. It was like Black Swan but less dark (and minus the psycho main character).Hannah was a very likeable main character. I have no idea how much of her character was autobiographical, but Hannah seemed to represent the average professional ballet dancer: driven, devoted, ambitious and with a passion and true love for dance. I admired her and was intrigued by how she fit in the group of other dancers and the way she interacted with her ballet friends, since it is so different from anything I know. These girls breathe ballet. They're both friends and competitors. But I am glad Hannah was the one who took a step back to really look at her life now and then. Her personal journey was, again, pretty straightforward, but interesting given the world she came from.If you are looking for a romance involving ballet, you might want to skip this book. This book revolves around ballet, and the romance is a minor aspect of it. Honestly, I couldn't care much for the Hannah-and-Jacob part. I liked Hannah, so naturally, I wanted her to have as many good things as possible, Jacob included. But if I were to judge this book on its romance, I would have to say it was pretty flat. Thank goodness, that left more room to take in every aspect of the ballet world.Bunheads was a simple story set against a difficult background, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The details and many descriptions of a ballet dancer's day captured me and made me want to learn more and more and more. Even if the plot doesn't interest you, this book is worth it for the cultural experience alone. It takes you behind the scenes of professional ballet and therefore, I would recommend it to everyone with a passion for dance, or anyone who is curious to find out more about it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to re-watch every dance movie I own.