The Rebel Christian

Book Reviews

Pretty Dancer

By Cora Graham

This is a contemporary romantic novel that many many people will enjoy. The writing is great and the story, despite being a romance, is actually quite unique. It is about love, about a heartbroken girl who’s pushed everyone away until meeting that one guy—as she put it. But it’s also about dance. I’ve read books about music, religion, workaholics, cancer, but never dance. I’m a huge fan of contemporary fiction so when I got the request I was ecstatic.

We have a very hard working girl who wants to make her dreams a reality, a very longshot kind of dream to get accepted into The Elite Academy of Dance. I like books like this, despite being forced to cheer for the protagonist, I found enjoyment in watching the problems play out, watching our protagonist go through her pretty adventurous love life and roller coaster career in dancing.

What I liked most about this book was its narration; first person, present tense. Not an easy narration to do but it’s absolutely amazing when it’s done right and Graham totally did it here.

I liked this book very much and I even reread some parts because the writing was great and the plot was intriguing but I do have a few complaints. I feel really nit-picky doing this but gosh…I have to. My biggest complaint is actually the main character herself. Lilly.

She’s a beautiful auburn with a bangin’ body—due to hours of dance—she’s one of those hot girls who’s single because she’s ‘one of the guys’ which apparently makes her untouchable. I don’t mind that, really I don’t. Those kinds of characters are supposed to be the ‘unique’ ones. Because they’re not beautiful, blonde Barbies with godawful huge boobies and rich daddies, that means they’re not-your-typical-female-lead. But really, how many books are actually written about the beautiful blondes with an easy life?

Yeah. Not so unique after all.

Not that I have a problem with girls who aren’t girly, I myself am far from girly. What annoyed me with Lilly was that she had to go around announcing her awkward hotness, and her awesome friendship with every male on the face of the earth and how boyish she is because makeup sucks, and so do high heels, and everything pink and pretty and girly, and God did I mention how friggin boyish she is??? Like, I get it! You’re not a typical girl, you’re not a girly girl but you have a dream of making it big in the most stereotypically girlish career on the face of the earth…dancing. Because that’s not girly at all, right?

Please note, I am not at all bashing Graham’s writing or her story. I loved this book and will probably read it again just for the enjoyment. I loved hating Lilly because she’s just that annoying BUT I somehow wanted things to go her way. I hated everyone who hated her and loved all her snooty remarks and witty comebacks she bit back because its more fun to hear her thoughts than read her words. Lilly was cool on many levels, I just find it annoying when characters announce their flaws the way she does. It started to feel like she wasn’t girly but was maybe jealous of girly girls. I could be wrong but there was a lot of pinned up frustration in Lilly that I don’t think stemmed from her stressful dancing career.

My last and final note.

This is an awesome book, the writing is something that I really want to compliment. It s not every day you find a YA contemporary romance as believable and intriguing as this…BUT…I felt like the writing was a little mature for YA. Don’t get me wrong, there weren’t excessive curse words or gritty love scenes comparable to Fifty Shades. I’m talking about the actual writing itself. Graham should take her talents to the collegiate audience or older.     

I actually did a double take when Lilly said she was in high school. She has such a mature voice and the flow of the book is so smooth I thought it centered on adults not teenagers. I mean Lilly’s narration is so adult-like, even the subject matter seemed mature. All this talk of love and heartbreak and wanting to focus on nothing but her career, that sounds like a struggling thirty-year-old twice divorced with a kid. I was surprised but it didn’t necessarily take away from the story. I just wish the characters had been older, there’s enough YA fiction out there. Give us twenty-somethings a good book to read.  

If there is anyone who can catch a break in this new age fiction, its Graham for sure. I look forward to her future works. I’d like to read something from her written from a male’s perspective.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. Romantic readers will love this and YA fans will want to grab a copy right away. If you like strong female leads then this is the book for you.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*