Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Ever since her best friend went missing four years ago, Theo has been trying to have a normal life. She spends nearly all of her free time in the dance studio, competing with the other elite dancers for lead roles and spots in summer intensive programs. She knows if she trains just hard enough (and eats just little enough), she can obtain her dream of joining a professional ballet company.
But suddenly Donovon reappears from his captivity.. and he’s not talking. But as details of his case start to unfold, Theo realizes that she may have a connection to his abduction. And as she starts to relive the months around his disappearance, her life story starts to unravel.
While I didn’t find the romance itself particularly swoon-worthy, Theo’s (current) love story seems very true to high school: unstable, uncertain, and lacking communication. I appreciated how realistic it seemed, even if it wasn’t exactly what she wanted!
Feminist Score: A+
Theo kicks ass. Without spoiling anything, I loved the way this book ended. Theo spends a lot of time working through her own history, but ultimately makes important decisions to help herself (and her friend) in a very tough situation.
Diversity Score: Good Effort
One of the things I loved about Pointe was that it seamlessly integrated thoughts on race and diversity without seeming formulaic or preachy. Theo’s a black dancer in a nearly all-white dance school (and, it seems, public school). Like Misty Copeland and other athletes and artists of color, she faces immense barriers in her professional goals. She acknowledges the challenges, but continues to work hard to overcome them. I particularly like the scene in her middle school, where a teacher asks for her opinion on segregation because of her race.
Awesome Factor: Good Effort
This book really surprised me. I picked up Pointe expecting a narrative of a ballet dancer trying to accomplish her dreams. The story was all of this, and so much more. Pointe is beautiful, tragic, funny, and dark…you won’t be able to put it down.
Theo – Everything about her devotion to dance, her confusing past, and her friendship with Donovan is beautiful, and sad.
I’m a sucker for well-written passages about dance, and Pointe is full of them:
“I spin around on one foot, the room swirling by me in blurs of color and light. My leg extends from my hip in a straight line before it whips around to meet my body, over and over again. Spotting saves me from a serious case of dizziness; I train my eyes on a specific point around the room and never look away, not until the last possible second when I have to turn my head to keep up with my body. Air speeds by me so fast that it clicks in my ears, strong and steady like a metronome.”
Is this worth a book hangover?
Yes. Pointe surprised me, and exceeded my expectations in so many ways. It’s completely worth the read.
Fun Author(s) Fact
Brandy Colbert has a Tumblr (link here) with smart, on-point, and beautiful posts. Check it out!
Read This Next
Oh, man. This is hard – I still have a Pointe hangover! If you’re looking for another dance-related book, try Pretty Tiny Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. This book is hyper-focused on competitive dance and filled with a diverse cast of cut-throat ballerinas.
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha loves books, Gilmore Girls, and her Kuerig. She’s been reading mainstream YA since she was actually a young adult, and Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.