Friday, October 14, 2011

Me on Audition

Title: Audition
Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe
Release Date: October 13, 2011
Publisher: Viking (Penguin imprint)

When sixteen-year-old Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's lonely, until she falls into Remington's arms, a fellow dancer and choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being his muse, but as she discovers a hidden passion for writing, she begins to question whether or not she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? Is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more?

Audition is honest and heartfelt, the story of a young girl suddenly in a bigger city than she's used to, enrolled in a more advanced ballet school, intrigued by an older guy who looks at her and finds a 'dance muse.' Emotional, inspiring, and surprisingly visual, Stasia Ward Kehoe has crafted an amazing verse novel.

I agree with the general consensus that verse novels have a way of getting straight to the heart of the book, to the raw emotional core of the narrator. With prose, there's so much extra that isn't needed in poetry, like knowing which way characters are moving and who said what over and over. Bogging down poetry with 'he said/she said' is useless and foolish. Verse novels give us a lyrical and almost romantic interpretation of a story, metaphor and allusion and personification littering each page, filling each line when quite often each line contains
word. (See what I did there?)

I'll admit, dance is not a big part of my life currently, or even when I was a child, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate Sara's story and struggle to keep all the pieces of herself that she seems to give away with each step, each turn, each plié or pirouette. She's sixteen. Who really, honestly, knows what they want in life at sixteen? Who isn't drawn to older guys who share the same creative background, who understands the struggles to stay healthy, to rehearse day after week after month, who knows the drive to be the best and to one day shine on stage? Can you honestly say you'd turn away the chance to have some kind of connection with that person?

Stasia Ward Kehoe has given us a heartbreaking, emotional, and honest book about the struggle of a young ballet student and all the many struggles she goes through. A must read for loyal fans of verse novels, books about the arts, and contemporary YA.

(I received an advance copy of this book to review from Penguin Canada.)

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