Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: Pretty Dancer by Cora Graham

Book Blurb:

Meet Lilly - talented dancer, quick mouthed, take no shit tough girl who's also good at hiding the fact that she's scared. She doesn't believe in true love or happily ever afters. Unless you count the unbreakable love she has for her overprotective, bullheaded twin brother, who also happens to be her knight in shining armor - which she doesn't. Kind of hard to love when you can't trust, and trust was something that got shattered along with the rest of her years ago. A lot was taken from her at a young age. She's never gotten over it as much as she's just refused to deal with it.

Her twin brother and quirky best friend are the only ones she lets see her true self. Her only dream is to get accepted into The Elite Academy of Dance and spend the rest of her life dancing on a stage, away from all that haunts her. To her, that's easier than dealing with the demons from her past and the scars they left on the person she has become today. She's more than willing to tuck all those dark and nasty things away, and go on pretending. Never hoping for anything more. Never allowing herself to feel.

That is, until a certain guy walks into her life like he was always meant to be there and refuses to go away. He turns her world upside down and confuses her to no end. He makes her wonder if there really is something more worth fighting her demons for. But then a secret comes to light that has her questioning if her shattered heart could have been saved all its hurt so many years ago.

A story about a girl who fights to overcome her past and dances her way into the future she wants. And maybe, just maybe, along the way finds a way to trust again, to love again.

Love, Humor, Passion, Artistry, a story of acceptance.

Book Review:

3 Out of 5 Stars


Lily and Luke have only had the other to count on for the majority of their lives, their mother dead and their father in jail, causing them to get emancipated. Luke has stepped in to the protector role, always watching out for Lilly, and she wouldn't trade him for anything. With only one semester left in high school and her auditions for the elite dance academy looming on the horizon, Lilly throws herself into her dancing. But somebody catches her eye, Carter, the new boy who is also Luke's best friend. Lilly feels drawn towards Carter regardless of the barriers he creates between them. Lilly has to figure out what she wants and what she is willing to do to make her dreams come true.

I absolutely love anything having to do with dancers. Center stage was my favorite movie growing up, and since then I will take anything I can get, especially the turmoil and drama I enjoy from totally messed up dance related things such as Black Swan and Flesh and Bone. The conflict of the people mixed with the beauty of the dancing calls to me and I am helpless to resist. When I saw that this book was about a troubled dancer, to say I wanted to read it was a bit of an understatement. More truthful, was I needed to read it. That being said, I found the book to be good but not exactly what I was hoping for, and most likely because my expectations were too high. This was a growing up story with an emotional girl who has to learn to fight for love and how to have forgiveness. It was a sweet story and I did get some drama in the form of family conflict, but I wanted some dance drama, and there was only happiness that came from dancing. Yes I know I have problems, but at least I am honest.

The author did a great job of creating characters that were filled with depth and personality. Lilly is the main character and the book is narrated through her eyes, but even the side characters were well crafted individuals that I could empathize with and root for. Lilly fits the cruse description of “piss and vinegar” to a tee. She was all hostility and verbal barbs, not caring about anyone who stood in her way. I liked her for the most part, and I was happy to have a strong female character to root for who was so resilient. I did think at times she was a little too reactive, I wanted her to mellow out a tad bit and think before she acted but oh well.

I liked that this was a romantic story, but not just that, it was a love story. The love Lilly felt with her brother Luke was better to me than even the love she had with Carter. It was so sweet the way he cared for her and how in the face of learning some hard family truths, they realized that they do not need anyone else. Together they are family and that was my favorite part of the story. Forgiveness and acceptance also were important messages, as well as friendship, that I picked up while reading, so I guess overall I would call this a feel good read.

On the negative side, I had a hard time getting into the story. I was about half way through before I finally got sucked into the drama that I was reading. The book spent a LOT of time being reflective, which reflection by itself is not bad; there was just so much of it. Lilly spent a majority of the book stuck in her own head, pondering her past, other’s choices, her feelings, how she should act, how someone else should act… Ect, you get my point. I was a little underwhelmed by her inner monologue and descriptions of everything that I would find myself tuning her out and hoping for some action. Also, the fact her brother and Carter hang out and flirt with girls who actively give Lilly a hard time and insult her. If they both cared for Lilly, they would have told the girls to stop or they would have stopped hanging out, not ignored it until Lilly dealt with it. Based on Luke’s character, it seemed strange that he was fine with it, so it irked me.

The story wrapped up nicely so I don’t need another book, but I liked the characters enough to want another book to see what will happen next. I enjoyed the story regardless of some rough patches and look forward to more from this author.

I received this title from the author in return for my honest review.

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