Release Date: May 26th 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Rating: 4 stars
Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
Disclaimer: There will be some minor spoilers in this review.
Tiny Pretty Things has chapters that alternate between the perspectives Gigi, Bette and June. Yes, there is a lot of drama and conflict centred around this three characters but at the same time there is also a lot of stuff involving the supporting characters. So my main issue with this book is that there is too much going on. It’s too confusing and less than a month after reading this book, I’m already having trouble remembering who did what to who. Things happen in quick succession and I had no time to process and absorb all this information being thrown at me. The Perfectionists also has a complicated plot like this but unlike Tiny Pretty Things, it rehashes important scenes multiple times so that it’s easier to keep track of what happened. But on the flip side, I did enjoy the majority of the plot twists and drama..and I read the book in a single sitting (on the plane) because it’s that addictive.
The characters are intense, flawed and diverse. Gigi is basically the “new girl” – she’s naive, loyal, likeable and really has no clue just how mean girls can be at her new ballet school. Unfortunately, Gigi is also in the minority as the only black ballet dancer and she gets the lead role. So naturally, everyone hates her. In some ways Gigi was disappointing.. I felt like her getting hurt so much was partly her fault because she kept trying so hard to see the good in everyone. It’s like she just can’t process the fact that someone can lie to her face and try to hurt her because they want the lead.
The other main characters, Bette and June kind-of scared me (and I won’t really get into why because those will be major spoilers). Bette is this perfect girl who seems to have everything…until it starts being taken from her. First, her lead role then her boyfriend. June, on the other hand, is still trying to prove herself to the ballet instructors. She’s half-Asian and (for the most part) the understudy which means that she has to face the brunt of her mom’s anger. When June’s mom starts threatening to stop paying for her ballet practice, she has to take “drastic measures” so to speak.
Some of the character’s struggles (especially with their parents) were kind of relatable. I could understand June’s obsession with perfection because I’ve been there in terms of my grades in HS. Her mom is also really intense, and as an Asian girl with parents who remind me often enough to do better than my best, I could totally sympathize with her. But I couldn’t sympathize with her and Bette’s need to eliminate their “competition.” I’ve been bullied before (though not as extremely as Gigi) and it was not a pleasant experience. So if you are going to read this book, you should know that this book tackles bullying and harassment, food disorders, body image, etc. If you’re not comfortable reading about these things, then this book isn’t for you.
In the end, I lowered my rating by 0.5 because of the ending. I didn’t like it. I was all…
I mean, that ending was sort of a cliffhanger and apparently this book is supposed to be a standalone? The ending didn’t seem to tie up anything, I felt like there was still so much left to resolve (I need to know things okay?) and the author just randomly decided to stop writing the book. (Once again, it might just be me because most reviewers don’t seem to have had a problem with ending.)
So while I loved how dark, original, intense and diverse this book is, I also had some issues with it. BUT I RECOMMEND IT! Go read it, and then tell me what you think!