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Various Positions by Martha Schabas

Georgia is a shy, slightly awkward girl who doesn’t really know what to do with herself or her body, except when she’s dancing. As a ballerina, Georgia is in complete control, but as a normal girl, she’s stuck between a dysfunctional family and boy crazy friends. That’s why she loves dancing so much, and why she’s beyond thrilled to be accepted into the Royal Ballet Academy, Canada’s top dance school. But attending the Academy presents a new set of problems and pressures for Georgia. She wants to be the best, but when Artistic Director Roderick Allen recognizes her potential, she’s not sure what to think of his extra attention. Are the extra rehearsals and training to help make her an even better ballerina, or are they opportunities for Roderick to show he means something else? And how can Georgia remain an instrument of dance, rigidly disciplined and sexless, when her image of her own body is becoming increasingly sexual? Georgia’s life at the Academy has become a treacherous dance, and one misstep could cost a teacher’s career—and her future.

Schabas’s debut novel Various Positions is a gorgeous yet chilling look at coming of age in ballet school. Readers are given a glimpse into the harsh but alluring world of professional ballet and a look into the mind of a young girl who dreams of a future in this world. I loved the way that Schabas was able to really peel away the layers of protagonist Georgia’s mind; it was so fascinating to see how Georgia analyzed and responded to each new development at the Academy—and how each misinterpretation would affect her behavior. I found this book impossible to put down, even as reading from Georgia’s perspective became increasingly creepy because of her obsession with becoming the perfect sexual and completely asexual student for Roderick. This is the kind of story that will really make readers wonder who is at fault in the loaded and politically dangerous situations Georgia finds herself in. Various Position is truly an impeccably written novel with an addictive story and delicious taste of a young, confused dancer’s psyche.

Various Positions is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard and Liar by Justine Larbalestier.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from publisher Macmillan

1 munch(es) :

Leigh Purtill said...

Sounds like a great book! As a dancer/ballet instructor and writer, I'm always on the lookout for books that combine both worlds. Thanks for the review!

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