Meet Lilly – talented dancer, quick mouthed, take no shit tough girl who’s also good at hiding the fact that she’s scared. She doesn’t believe in true love or happily ever afters. Unless you count the unbreakable love she has for her over protective, bullheaded twin brother, who also happens to be her knight in shining armor – which she doesn’t.
Kind of hard to love when you can’t trust, and trust was something that got shattered along with the rest of her years ago. A lot was taken from her at a young age. She’s never gotten over it as much as she’s just refused to deal with it.
The only thing in her entire world that still brings her peace is dancing. Her one and only dream is to dance her way to freedom. That freedom just so happens to be at The Elite Academy of Dance. She’s more than willing to tuck all those dark and nasty things she doesn’t want to think about away, like the darkness that haunts her dreams, and go on pretending, never hoping for anything more – until him.
by Cora Graham
February 17, 2015
In this young adult romance, the majority of the characters are seniors in highschool. Lilly, the main character, is juggling three main goals/conflicts. Her past, her future, and her present. Her past is a combination of family tragedy and personal horror story, a secret kept from all but her brother. Her present is the blossom of first love with a boy who has secrets of his own, along with all the confusion, emotional turmoil and drama such a thing generates. Her future is her upcoming dance audition for the school of her dreams, The Elite, and all the fear, self-doubt, and stress that involves. There was a pretty good balance of these themes throughout, though certain plot points and statements are brought up over and over again in Lilly’s thoughts.
What I loved most about the plot is how past, present and future are on a track to collide. The story builds towards that collision very well. And yes, the story resolves. Questions are answered; loose ends are tied. We aren’t left hanging. I was satisfied with the ending.
As for sexual content, it was mostly mild, lot’s of tension, at least one heavy petting scene and quite a bit of kissing. There was one fade to black; I’m not sure anything actually happened, and I kind of preferred and assumed that it didn’t.
Youthful in tone, the writing was paced well for the most part and true to the target audience. I felt like the voice of the main character, Lilly, was well represented, and I particularly liked the emotives that her inner voice spawns. The little internal ‘oh nos’ and ‘I can’t believe I just said thats’ were well-placed and relatable (sometimes rather funny, other times painful in that I felt embarrassed with her). I also think the author did a fantastic job translating the art of dance into the written word. I could picture it. Beautiful.
On the other hand, I must say I did get a bit tired of the same statements of wishful thinking, confusion, and self-explanation popping up over and over. It got a little old, but not enough to discourage me from reading on or recommending the story.
As for editing, the story was reasonably well-edited and the grammar, word choice and sentence structure, for the most part, were worked over to good effect. Then again, the story could still use another run through by someone looking for sound-alike words and the occasional typo that wouldn’t register on a spell check (verb tense changes by a missing letter, that sort of thing).
I really liked this story and would recommend it to fans of realistic YA romance. The story is relatable and drew me in emotionally. Although it took me a couple of days to finish it, I did find myself reading way too late wanting to find out what happens next. I think young people will like this story.
The review copy of Pretty Dancer was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
ABOUT CORA GRAHAM
My name is Cora Graham. I live in Northwest Arkansas with my wonderful husband and two awesome children, our sweet dog Carly and not so sweet cat Mr. Gru. I am a stay at home mother of two very energetic, very handsome (not that I’m biased or anything), imaginative, keep me on my toes every second of the day little boys. The thing I absolutely love to do most in life is spend time with my family.
I’m a pretty boring, quiet person in reality. I have an unhealthy (what the husband thinks) addiction to coffee. I need coffee in a don’t talk to me until I’ve had my first sip kind of way. When I’m driving alone in my van (that I love) I happen to think I’m the best singer in the world and there is no song I can’t sing. Don’t laugh, you know you do it too. And to my husbands baffled amazement, I love love love martial arts movies. They’re my guilty pleasure.
What no one knows about me (until now) is that I’ve always had these imaginary conversations flowing through my head, with these imaginary people, telling me their imaginary stories. Since having kids of my own, I’ve discovered a bravery I didn’t know I had. I tell my boys to be brave in all things, there is nothing they can’t do or become. Of course with kids, those dreams can change daily. It’s their bravery and dreamful little minds of becoming a scientist, policeman, firefighter (I’ve even heard ninja) that gave me the inspiration to do what I’ve always done in my head. Tell stories. My hope is that people will love reading my stories as much as I’ve come to love writing them.