Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review: American Ballerina by Nancy Lorenz

American Ballerina, by Nancy Lorenz
2015, 224p, Clean YA Contemporary
My Rating=3.5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

In The Strength of Ballerinas, her dancing dreams were put to the test as she worked to overcome every obstacle that came her way. And now, seventeen-year-old Kendra is about to face a whole new set of challenges in American Ballerina. As summer comes to a close, the teen prepares to leave home behind for a three-week ballet intensive—followed by an apprenticeship at the Premiere Ballet.

After saying goodbye to her family, friends, and boyfriend Troy, Kendra jumps headfirst into the fast-paced, hectic ballet class, where she takes on the role of student and teacher for a group of younger girls. There, she meets new friends from around the globe—including a handsome French dancer named Jacques, who sees himself as prime competition for Kendra’s long-distance love.

Between adjusting to her new surroundings and keeping her health in check, Kendra finds herself filled with doubts about her future—despite a life of dance being everything she ever dreamed of. As she comes of age in the high-stakes world of professional ballet, will she manage to balance personal well-being, friendship, love, and her blossoming career?

I enjoyed the author's first book, The Strength of Ballerinas, and you can find my review here. Before I get started on the book, I want to say that I love the cover! I wish I was a graceful ballerina, but don't think my feet could handle it (okay, and I'm not graceful). 

This book starts with Kendra and Troy spending their last few days of summer together before they go their separate ways. Life gets hectic and they communicate less and less as time goes on and doubts about their relationship creep in. Troy is spending a lot of time with his new female tutor. Meanwhile, Kendra meets a French dancer named Jacques, who is handsome, charming, and pays her attention. The boy situation is confusing for Kendra, but she has her dancing to keep her sane. She deals with MS and there are times that it flares up. She meets some great friends who help her cope with it and together they come up with a plan to help her during performances, if necessary.

Overall, I liked this story. I didn't enjoy the writing in this book as much as I did in her first one. Kendra is a teenager and spoke and thought like one, but there were times it bugged me and felt awkward. She has a lot to deal with as she begins life on her own and it was nice to see that she has a good head on her shoulders. She works hard and is determined to succeed at something she loves in spite of her health challenges. Her dad and autistic brother, Petey, weren't in this story too much but we were able to get an update on them and how they're doing. I did want more of Kendra's story after reading The Strength of Ballerinas, and am glad the author wrote this book!

Nancy Lorenz currently teaches as an English adjunct at several colleges. She worked in publishing, public relations and in network television. She studied ballet in New York City at numerous studios, including open level classes at American Ballet Theater in the 1980’s, and continues to study ballet for the sheer love of it. She recommends that you love what you do, but also to branch out to the many subjects out there yet to discover. The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your art.


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