cover image Various Positions

Various Positions

Martha Schabas. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-38086-1

Schabas skillfully weaves themes of power, communication, trust, intimacy, and betrayal through this character-driven tale, as 14-year-old ballet dancer Georgia struggles to find a place where she belongs and people she can trust. Uncomfortable with her party-going classmates and caught between a domineering father and an emotional mother, Georgia hopes to find refuge in Toronto’s premier ballet academy. However, her acceptance there introduces her to variations on problems she is already dealing with: cruel peers, prohibitively high standards, and another male authority figure whose approval she craves. As Georgia constructs her own narrative about her relationship with her teacher, she realizes that the stories she’s been told about her own family contain perplexing inconsistencies; the closer she looks, the more she uncovers omissions, lies, and willful misinterpretations. Naïveté and precociousness wrestle within Georgia: unaware of potential health consequences, she innocently coaches a heavier classmate in self-starvation, while, hoping to captivate her teacher, she studies porn for guidance. A robust first-person narrative voice, multidimensional supporting characters, and a suspenseful plot add up to a strong debut. Ages 14–up. Agency: Aitken Alexander Associates. (Feb.)