The Other Side of Perfect

Mariko Turk. Poppy, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-70340-6
Debut author Turk draws readers into the contrasting worlds of classical ballet and musical theater in this insightful story about a half-white, half-Japanese high school junior whose dreams of becoming a professional ballerina are shattered. After a bad break results in “sixteen screws and two plates” in her leg and a life without dancing en pointe, Alina faces what feels like a dismal future. Previously devoted entirely to perfecting her dance technique, she now feels distanced from her schoolmates; her former dance friend, Colleen; as well as her younger sister, who traded in ballet for modern dance a long time ago. Now, Alina’s only friend is classmate Margot, who prods Alina to audition for the upcoming musical. Becoming a lead dancer in Singin’ in the Rain doesn’t erase all of Alina’s pain, but it does open the door to new possibilities as it causes her to reflect on ballet’s limitations, and introduces her to dance partner Jude, who literally and figuratively sweeps her off her feet. In addition to critiquing ballet’s narrow traditions and bringing to life the energy of performing on stage, Turk details a teen’s adjustments through a persuasive and winning first-person narrative. Ages 12–up. Agent: Alexandra Levick, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/25/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3800-3
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