Synopses & Reviews
In a crowd of beautiful ballet dancers, how can one girl stand out?
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances, and complicated backstage relationships. But when she meets a spontaneous and irresistibly cute musician named Jacob, her universe begins to change.
Until now, Hannah has happily followed the company's unofficial mantra, "Don't think, just dance." But as Jacob opens her eyes to the world beyond the theater, Hannah must decide whether to compete against the other "bunheads" for a star soloist spot or to strike out on her own.
"Exhilaration and drudgery, passion and exhaustion, exist side by side for dancers in the exalted Manhattan Ballet, a world unto itself, which Flack (a former New York City Ballet dancer) brings vividly to life in this strong debut. Supported by her parents, Hannah moves to Manhattan alone at age 14 to pursue her dream; by 19 she is a senior corps dancer. Hannah finds gratification in the self-discipline and relentless cycle of rehearsals and performances, all in pursuit of perfect beauty, presentation, and a possible solo. However, she's also frustrated with her insular life. The ballet's dependence on wealthy patrons offers a window into the lives of the super-rich, which depresses Hannah, and the physical demands of her work take a toll on her ('To anyone on the outside... I look thin and willowy.... But in the world of the Manhattan Ballet, my figure is apparently unacceptable'). After meeting Jacob, an NYU student and musician, Hannah feels increasingly torn between her love for ballet and the temptations of normal life. Readers, both dancers and 'pedestrians' (the corps' term for nondancers), will find Hannah's struggle a gripping read. Ages 15 up." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"At turns riveting, hilarious and bittersweet, Bunheads
provides a backstage pass into the world of elite New York City ballet dancers. I got swept up in their routines and habits, their triumphs and disappointments, and their deep friendships, which thrive even in the face of fierce competition. This is at once a romantic page-turner and a thoughtful exploration of just how much true artists are willing to give up for their art."-- J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine and Commencement
"A must-read for every young dancer! Sophie Flack takes us inside the world of the professional dancer, sparing nothing, and weaving a poignant, honest coming-of-age story that will keep you turning pages."
--Davida Willis Hurwin, author of A Time For Dancing, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults
"A multi-layered and absorbing good read by a promising debut novelist."
--Kirkus (starred review)
Praise for Bunheads:"She [Flack] brilliantly captures the arc from soaring ballerina to exhausted dancer collapsing in a pool of sweat...details have been changed, but fans of ballet will nonetheless relish the inside scoop. A multi-layered and absorbing good read by a promising debut novelist."--Kirkus (starred review)
"A measured, vibrant, un-melodramatic account... with a lively cast of literary soloists and corps de novel who present possible ways to survive, or not, as a dancer. Even the ballet-neutral will understand the conflict between career and personal life explored here, but this book will be absolutely irresistible to those who've always felt just one pirouette and years of ferocious training away from Margot Fonteyn."--BCCB (starred review)
"Readers, both dancers and "pedestrians" (the corps' term for nondancers), will find Hannah's struggle a gripping read."
"Flack has written Hannah's story with an insider's knowledge and expertise. The result is an entertaining read, shedding light on a world most readers know nothing about."
"From the eyecatching cover-a kaleidoscopic overhead shot of tutu-clad ballet dancers-this first-person account of the difficult life a ballerina faces will enthrall readers."--Booklist
On-stage beauty. Backstage drama.
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.
But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?
About the Author
Sophie Flack danced with the New York City Ballet from 2000 until 2009. She is currently studying English at Columbia University. Bunheads is her first novel.