Title: On Pointe
Author: Lorie Ann Grover
Release Date: May 1, 2008
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Number: 32o
Our feet slip
into satin shoes
with stiff shanks,
and slippery ribbons
that wrap and end
in hard knots.
The frayed edges
out of sight.
A row of bound feet
to its toes.
For as long as she can remember, Clare and her family have had a dream: Someday Clare will be a dancer in City Ballet Company. For ten long years Clare has been taking ballet lessons, watching what she eats, giving up friends and a social life, and practicing until her feet bleed — all for the sake of that dream. And now, with the audition for City Ballet Company right around the corner, the dream feels so close.
But what if the dream doesn’t come true? The competition for the sixteen spots in the company is fierce, and many won’t make it. Talent, dedication, body shape, size — everything will influence the outcome. Clare’s grandfather says she is already a great dancer, but does she really have what it takes to make it into the company? And if not, then what?
Told through passionate and affecting poems in Clare’s own voice, On Pointe soars with emotion as it explores what it means to reach for a dream — and the way that dreams can change as quickly and suddenly as do our lives.
3 out of 5 stars
Clare has dreamed of being a ballerina her whole life. She’s taken classes in order to get better; she’s gone through countless pairs of pointe shoes and has had more blisters than she thought possible. Her dream is shared by classmates in her dance lessons. The girls are told they have to look a certain way, weigh a specific amount, love to dance. It’s a hard life to live and an even harder legacy to live up to. Clare lives with her grandfather so she can be closer to the dance studio. Her parents support her money-wise in her endeavor to learn ballet. Clare goes through hours of ballet classes every day to finally get told she’s not good enough. She shuts down and stops taking class. A family tragedy takes priority over ballet and she ends up telling her mom off for being too attached. Clare wants to dance, but is thinking a different route than being a professional. Is that even possible for her?
I love books in verse because they are so fast and easy to read. This was not what I was expecting at all. The dancing wasn’t really even part of the story. I don’t think the author was a dance because she called ‘pointe shoes’ ‘toe shoes.’ Nope. Not the same thing. I was bothered because it wasn’t driven by the dance aspect. I have yet to find a really great book about ballerinas. I want to be a ballerina, so a lot of the things that I’ve read about in fiction books are very… unrealistic. The competition is hard and there is a very small chance of actually becoming a dancer. Most people don’t even realize that. Dancing professionally is so hard on your body, and you don’t really always have a guaranteed spot. I understand that because this book wasn’t very ballet oriented, that it appealed to many different groups of people, but I would love to find a really great ballet book.
Clare was really the only character. There was a lot of development from her throughout the book, so that was nice to see. She did have a voice and was a very independent girl and I’m glad she ended up standing up to her mom. I just really can’t stress enough how badly I wanted this to be a ballet book. Dance is a huge part of my life and I just want a real dance book! *sighs*
Who Would I Be?:
I would choose to be Clare. Mostly because she was the only character, but she was a pretty cool person. She did end up dancing because she wanted to, and not just because her parents told her to. She was a very strong person who didn’t give up completely. It was nice to have a character break down a little bit and feel lost. Some books are really unrealistic in the fact that they have the main character always knowing what to do; that isn’t real life. There are point(e)s where you have no idea what to do. It was nice to see that vulnerability from Clare.