May 21, 2015

Tiny Pretty Things - Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

Tiny Pretty Things book cover
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this novel from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

As a little girl, I loved being a ballerina. There's something special about being able to express story and emotion with physical movement, and the graceful and dainty nature of ballet appealed to a little girl who was obsessed with telling stories any way she knew how. Sadly, my career as a ballerina ended the moment I realized the physical toll it took on my body. But I still love going to see a ballet, and fall in love again with this type of dance each time.

Ballet was the main reason I found myself drawn to Tiny Pretty Things, but the promise of intense emotions, interpersonal conflict and dance-centered drama cemented my interest. The novel delivers on all four fronts, utilizing three unique individuals to tell a story that involves intense physical circumstances and emotional turmoil. Once I'd met all three girls - Bette, June & Gigi - I was invested in learning about who they were, what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it. While the competition and pranks do feel overly dramatic, it simply works for this tale and I soaked it all up like a sponge. This is not a happy read, as the story is a mess of twisted logic, harsh circumstances and questionable choices. 

Tiny Pretty Things has to be one of the most intense reading experiences I've had this year. Yes, some of the circumstances feel grossly exaggerated. And yes, it's hard to read a story narrated by multiple, unreliable narrators. But I couldn't stop myself from turning the pages, eager and nervous in equal measures to find out what would happen next. While there are triggers and mature situations involved in this novel, it still wound up being a read that I devoured from cover to cover. I hesitate to make a general recommendation for this one, but if you find the summary interesting, you should give it a shot! (And if you have specific questions, feel free to ask me directly.)

What's your favorite ballet?

The Nutcracker will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first major ballet production I was ever in, but I think I will always be a little in love with Swan Lake. It's one of the most romantic, haunting tales, and a classic for ballerinas everywhere. I was fortunate to be able to be a part of my local ballet school's production when I was still a ballerina, and that makes it extra special too.


  1. I've been looking forward to getting this book for so long now! Your review makes it sound a lot darker than I was expecting (I was thinking more along the lines of PLL), but I'm still excited nonetheless!

  2. I have this one waiting for me on my kindle, so I can’t wait to get to it! And I used to take ballet too when I was little–obviously it wasn’t very competitive it was just for fun :P but I do love watching ballet <3 The Nutcracker is amazing and so is Swan Lake!! :D Great review!

  3. This does sound intense! I am always fascinated by books that explore what it takes to be successful in competitive industries, like ballet. I'll have to check it out!

  4. I've never been a dancer but I really want to see the competitive world in this book!

  5. I haven't heard of this book until I came across it here so I'm going to have to check it out. I never did ballet (or any dance) and now i'm kind of sad I didn't!

  6. I didn't realize this one was ballet related. It sounds a bit similar to The Walls Around Us and even Bunheads which is an older title. Thanks for the review!

  7. That cover is pretty. Love the font & details. I never got into ballet, that's so cool that you used to do it.

  8. Nicole @ The Quiet ConcertMay 23, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    I was drawn to this book by the ballerina storyline but sometime between then and now I had unjustifiably written it off! That seems to be a mistake on my part! I think I can deal with a little dramatics for an intense good read!

  9. This sounds like a great book and I'm glad it ticked the boxes you wanted it to :)
    Another for the TBR pile! x


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