Review: Pointe by Brandy Colbert

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pointe by Brandy ColbertPointe by Brandy Colbert
Published by Putnam Juvenile on April 10, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Theo is better now.

She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

I’ve been looking forward to Pointe for months. Books and movies about dancing are a special joy for me and this one has diversity too. Then I started reading and I wasn’t sure if Pointe would actually be a Christina book. I actually considered DNFing for a while. Ultimately, I didn’t, and I am glad that I stuck it out, even though Pointe is a little bit outside of my personal comfort zone. Pointe is very dark and painful, but ends in such a healthy place.

Theo, short for Theodora, makes a lot of really bad choices. She’s definitely riding on the hot mess express for most of Pointe. Despite her intense passion for ballet and dreams of having a professional ballet career, Theo drinks more than is good for her, smokes occasionally, and does drugs. She lost her virginity when she was 13 to an 18 year old, who left her without any explanation. Following his desertion and the disappearance of her best friend, Donovan, Theo developed an eating disorder, as an attempt at feeling in control. Though she’s been sent to Juniper Hills for rehab, she continues to avoid eating as much as possible.

As you can probably tell, Theo’s not a healthy girl mentally or physically. Reading Pointe hurts, because you want so badly to intervene but you can’t. If I could climb inside the book and give her a talking to, I would. The thing is that you can’t. It’s actually a lot like real life, because, no matter how much you want to help someone like Theo, you really can’t; even if you’re close, they can’t be helped until they are ready to be, just like Juniper Hills was ineffective.

To use some comparison marketing here, Pointe is a bit like Wintergirls meets Center Stage, though with much more of the Laurie Halse Anderson side of things. The ballet aspects are amazing. I love the way that ballet is clearly the only thing keeping Theo going. It’s the only thing in her life that’s stable and that she can count on. It’s the one thing that keeps her eating, albeit minimally.

On Goodreads, you’ll see Pointe classified, among other things, as a romance. While there is kissing and even sexing, Pointe is not a romance. This is a novel about acknowledging and dealing with your problems. This is not the sort of issues book where a tragic past is fixed by the discovery of a new love. THIS is the reason that Pointe worked for me. The emotional arc is well done and entirely believable.

Obviously, I struggled at the beginning with Theo’s drug use (I just can’t with this) and with Theo’s narrative voice. For whatever reason, Theo’s first person narrative voice didn’t really work for me. I never fell into the character and became entirely enraptured. I felt a bit removed and was aware of the fact that I was just reading a character, rather than becoming absorbed in a person.

I recommend Pointe for readers of dark contemporary novels, particularly fans of Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s a thought-provoking, painful read with a good message.

Favorite Quote:

Hosea said I was special, but words don’t mean anything without actions to back them up.

And maybe I am special, but it’s not because he said so.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif center stage zoe saldana

4 responses to “Review: Pointe by Brandy Colbert”

  1. I love ballet, but I am thinking that Pointe isn’t a Quinn book, which is why I haven’t read it. I’m not sure if I could handle the drug use, and just Theo being such a hot mess.

    I’m glad you stuck with this one and ultimately liked it. Also, YAY for Center Stage gifs 🙂
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Review: On the Fence by Kasie WestMy Profile

  2. Heather says:

    This sounds like a Heather book for sure 🙂

  3. I really have no experience with/understanding of dance, but I enjoyed the focus on pointe in this book as well. It was nice to see *something* grounding Theo and giving her the ability to make some right choices. Because, yes, she definitely was a frustrating protagonist at times.
    I definitely think the comparison to Anderson is apt. This was a bit darker than what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it overall as well.
    Lovely, articulate review!
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…The Monthly Digest: June 2014My Profile

  4. Brandy says:

    “This is not the sort of issues book where a tragic past is fixed by the discovery of a new love. THIS is the reason that Pointe worked for me. The emotional arc is well done and entirely believable.”

    Yes, this is why it worked so well for me as well. I also had a hard time with her character at first because of the drugs (SHE’S A DANCER!!!) and I was worried about Hosea from the start. (LOVE that quote too btw.) I do think this is powerful and important story. I know too many people with similar (not the friend being abducted but the other) experiences and I really liked how this worked to redefine what teens may think rape is.
    Brandy recently posted…TTT: Classics I SHOULD Read (But Don’t Really Want To)My Profile

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