Tiny Pretty Things is the first book in a series by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton focusing on the competitive world of ballet. As soon as I heard the pitch (Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars) I knew this book would be something I would enjoy. There’s something so fascinating to me about these girls who have such dedication to their talent, follow a strict set of rules and how cutthroat they can be toward one another because they’re competing in an industry with such limited job placement. The story focuses on three main characters, Bette, Gigi and June and it follows them throughout an entire year at their prestigious Manhattan ballet school. The book is full of drama and it’ll constantly keep you on your toes, never giving you a clear indication of who to trust. This is one book I devoured and I plan to read the sequel as soon as it debuts.
Tiny Pretty Things has three main POVs that the story is told from. June is a half Korean girl who is always cast in the understudy role. She struggles with never having known her father and she after an incident, she never allows herself to get close to anyone else at the school. Gigi is the new girl and unlike the majority of her class, she’s of African American descent. She’s much more carefree, having moved from California, and she is by far the most personable, grounded and genuine of the girls. Lastly, there’s Bette, the stereotypical mean girl and Queen Bee of the ballerinas. She’s constantly trying to juggle living up to her sister’s legacy, her alcoholic and mostly absent mother, and her own insecurities. Each character has a compelling point of view of the events that occur while they’re at school and I especially appreciated the diversity between each of them. There were moments where I felt like each girl was my favorite character. There are other students who play a predominant role in the story from love interests, to frenemies and even to teachers. Tiny Pretty Thingsis a book I would suggest reading for the characters alone, though if you struggle with unreliable narrators, you may take issue with the story.
On top of the compelling characters, I also fell in love with the setting of the story. I love that it takes place in Manhattan and having lived in or under an hour away from Manhattan for almost my whole life, I will never tire of seeing the city through someone else’s eyes. Add the ballet school to the mix, which allows for the excitement of finding out who will be cast in which roles and just how far certain dancers will go to achieve their goals, and I was completely hooked. The entire time I was reading, I felt as though I was so close to unraveling a mystery but no matter how close I came, there were still pieces missing. Even as certain things are revealed, there’s still more unanswered questions to keep you wondering. Tiny Pretty Things also deals with many serious issues that teenagers face including bullying, racism, eating disorders and drug addiction and it’s all done very well.
Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best. (via Goodreads)