October 30, 2016 by Zoë
After a disastrous year at one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the country, which almost resulted in the death of one of the students, the girls are back in Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton with just as many twists and turns as in the first installment. Who pushed Gigi? And why? No one is telling…
One of my favorite things ever is ballet drama. I don’t care when it’s hyped up and unrealistic. I still devour it with relish because it’s just so much fun. Even better when it’s accompanied with realistic portrayals of ballet. This book has both.
Told through alternating viewpoints, we have the chance to get to know several characters and learn about their struggles and inner thoughts. Sometimes alternating viewpoints are terrible, but I think it worked pretty well in this case.
My favorite part (after the drama) was the very realistic portrayal of an eating disorder. This gets touched on frequently in ballet books, but it was a major part of one of the point-of-view character’s arcs, and this stood out to me. It was also treated very well.
I also appreciated the diversity within the cast. There weren’t only white ballet dancers and the minority characters seemed pretty realistically portrayed. The characters were aware of race and reacted to it–it wasn’t just thrown in for the fun of it and then not addressed.
Obviously all the drama is pretty unrealistic. Don’t come here looking for realism. I also didn’t buy all of the characters’ story arcs. Some were too fully redeemed or too fully vilified. Again, I think that feeds back into the drama upon which the whole book stands: some characters are going to be really bad. I’d have liked a bit more depth for some of the characters, though.
Do you like ballet? Do you like getting lost in drama and backstabbing? Then this is the book for you. It’s fun and, as I said, deals with some deeper topics as well.
“All of us knew, deep down inside, that our actions could deem us unworthy–after all, we nearly killed a girl.”