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
Bunheads is a fascinating novel that explores the world of ballet. I do take dance, but I am not in a company, so I still found the view of a company shown in the book very insightful and interesting.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Hannah Ward is a great main character. She is a nineteen year old in the Manhattan Ballet Company, but she's not a principal dancer or soloist. She is in the corps de ballet. She wants to get promoted to higher rules in her company, but the competition is cutthroat, and you have to really prove yourself to Otto, the director, to get better roles. When she goes out one night and meets a young musician, she begins questioning whether she really wants to solely focus her life on ballet.
The other girls in the company were interesting characters. Zoe's friendship with Hannah seemed realistic. She wasn't the best friend, since Hannah and she were rivals for parts. They tended to get placed together in the same roles. Things become especially strained between them when Hannah gets put in to dance the part of a soloist when she gets injured. Both Zoe and Hannah were understudying that part, but Hannah, and not Zoe, happened to be in the wings when the dancer got injured. Zoe knows that if she had been in the wings and Hannah hadn't, she would have been put in to play the role. The other girls in Hannah's dressing room, Bea and Daisy, are also interesting characters.
The two boys in this book are good characters as well, though maybe not as developed as the ballerinas. Jacob is the young musician who meets Hannah at a bar. He is the first one to make her realize that there is a world outside of the Manhattan Ballet Company. He shows her some sights in New York. Their relationship is difficult since Hannah is hardly ever able to take time out of her busy schedule to see him. The other boy is a balletomane, or ballet fan, named Matt. He understands her schedule since he is such a fan of ballet. He is always coming and watching her shows. If you want to know which boy she chooses, read the book.
If you like YA contemporary and ballet, read this book.