Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
May 26, 2015
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* E-ARC courtesy of Edelweiss + HarperCollins
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.
[note note_color=”#BFD1D1″ text_color=”#ffffff”]I received this book for free from Edelweiss + HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.[/note]
First sentence: “It always feels like death.”
Two words that describe Tiny Pretty Things perfectly: Exhausting and addicting.
Tiny Pretty Thing follows three top ballet dancers—Gigi, Bette,and June—who are all competing to be the prima ballerina. Gigi is the California-born new girl who becomes the main target of harassment when she is cast as a leading role in The Nutcracker; Bette is the Queen Bee and ultimate mean girl who wants to get from under her older sister’s shadow and will do just about everything that shake up the competition; and June is always casted in the understudy role, and wants the spotlight to shine her to stop her mother from ending her dreams. These girls will stop at nothing to reach their goals even if it means bullying, backstabbing, and the like.
THOUGHTS YOU WILL HAVE WHEN YOU READ TINY PRETTY THINGS
Ballet is cutthroat.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. Ballet is a competitive field, and it’s not very kind when everybody is aiming to be the best. These girls in Tiny Pretty Things will do just about anything to sabotage their competitors. You can expect a lot of bitter rivalries, backstabbing, deceit and manipulation from these girls to get to the top. Sometimes, the things they do will boggle your mind because it’s all sorts of fucked up.
This is mentally exhausting.
All the bitterness, the jealousy, and the constant pressure these girls are under took a toll on me. The beginning is the toughest because you’re bombarded with so much of each girl’s psyche and their issues, which gets overwhelming and tiring. I felt like I was dragging my feet during those parts because it was so frustrating to see them act this way. You can only take so much drama until it gets tiring to watch. However, once you get over that hump, that exhaustion turns into an addiction because the drama that happens is very soap-opera-ish, and who doesn’t like to watch soap operas?
Man, these characters are really unlikable, but they are fascinating with complex issues.
Will you like these characters? Maybe, but you’ll hate majority of them because of how horrible they are. I couldn’t root for anybody except one because they were all horrible human beings who have no remorse for their actions nor sympathy for their victims. They’re only worried about themselves. It’s amazing to see how ruthless they are.
However, just because they’re extremely unlikable doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading about their issues, even if it felt stereotypical at times. All of them are battling and hiding something—like family pressures, eating disorders, medical conditions, and bullying. What happens because of these things will take you on a roller coaster ride.
Your time in the spotlight can easily be taken away.
Take Bette for instance. She has a seemingly perfect life—an upcoming star ballet dancer, who has a wonderful boyfriend, an exceptionally talented older sister, and an extremely connected family. She is ready to land the leading role of her dreams, but in a quick instance, everything she’s ever worked hard for is taken away from her by the new girl.
Tiny Pretty Things reminds you continuously that the spotlight is temporary, and that it can be taken away when you’re not looking. It’s such a harsh life lesson.
It does a great job of portraying diverse characters.
You have not one, but two characters who are POCs in Tiny Pretty Things! They are also one of the main characters who’s point of view we read about! You have Gigi, who is Black, and you have June, who is half-Korean. I love reading about how cultural pressures plays into what they, specifically June, do, and how they aren’t define by their race—that they are capable of rising to the top even when the odds are stacked against them.
I don’t know who to trust.
Just as you think you know who’s doing what to these characters, you get turned upside down, making you unsure if your assumptions were right. I felt like every time I took a step forward, I took two steps backwards. This book does a great job making you second guess with the clues that are exceptionally deceptive. Everybody has a motive! Hell, I’m still wondering if they got the right person. I’m suspicious of everyone!
It speaks for itself.
Did I enjoy Tiny Pretty Things? Ummm, that’s a bit debatable. I had considered DNFing Tiny Pretty Things because it was a bit unbearable and exhausting to read about these character’s jealousy. However, once it calmed down a bit—or once I became numb to the constant backstabbing—it became an addicting read.
It is very much like a ballet version of Mean Girls mixed with Pretty Little Liars. If you like those kinds of stories or you thrive on the drama and backstabbing, you should give this a read and tell me what you think.