Book: Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Published April 2014 by Penguin|237 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.
I have really mixed feelings about Pointe. I’m not sure how I feel about Theo, and I felt like the book I read was not the book I went in expecting.
Let’s start with the fact that the title, cover and summary made me feel like we were getting a completely different story than the one we got. Going off of the title and cover, it seemed like we were getting a book about a ballerina, but ballet wasn’t a huge part of the book. And the summary made it seem like the abduction was a huge part of the story, when it wasn’t.
So, considering how Theo wants to be elite ballet dancer, she doesn’t seem to act like one. She drinks and smokes cigarettes and weed, and for someone who’s supposedly aspiring to be Misty Copeland, she doesn’t seem to take care of herself very well. She hangs out with people who are into things that would get in the way of her dreams of dancing professionally. And she spent a lot of time whining about how she was late because she had to take the train, as she wasn’t able to drive to her ballet studio. And she didn’t seem to live and breathe ballet the way that Tally does in This Much Is True or Gigi, June and Bette do in Tiny Pretty Things, or even Michaela DePrince in her memoir Taking Flight. It felt very fake to me, like she didn’t really want as much as we were supposed to believe.
And while we see memories of Donovan and the man who abducted him…it didn’t really come up the way I thought it would. It barely came up, and the book is really more about Theo trying to deal with all of the issues she has than the ballet or even the abduction of her former best friend.
I will say that anorexia and statutory rape are two very important topics in Pointe, so if that’s something that is triggering for you, keep that in mind if you pick this book up.
Even though Theo doesn’t seem to have really good eating habits, it was another thing that I felt was a thing that was mentioned but not important. I did feel for Theo, who, at 13, had sex with someone much, much older than her, and didn’t realize that she had been raped and that she was too young to realize that she didn’t truly consent. That made me sad for her, but I still didn’t completely care for Theo. Yes, she’s flawed and does some really stupid things but it made me like her less. Which is fine, because I’m fine with unlikable characters, but in this case, such a flawed character worked against the book. I think it’s because there are too many elements (for me) that don’t get the attention that they should have.
Actually, I’m not sure what Colbert was trying to get at with Theo. She’s supposedly driven and an awesome ballerina, and yet we don’t see that at all. Someone who wants to be a professional ballet dancer…would they really act like Theo does in the book? It really makes no sense to me.
It felt like Theo’s memories and the abduction weren’t really given much thought until the end of the book, and I don’t think we even meet Donovan. If we do, then it clearly was enough for me to actually remember if we see him at all. Which is weird, considering he’s alive and that’s what makes Theo remember things.
Still, I liked how Theo dealt with her love interest at the end of the book- it was really different but in a good way, and it somehow seems to fit with Theo. It is sad that it wasn’t until the last couple of chapters or so that the book got to me emotionally. It made me wish the entire book was like that.
2 stars. Pointe was okay, but I felt like it was unclear what kind of story Colbert want to tell. There were some elements that could have been really poignant and emotional, and it wasn’t there for me. There were a lot of issues that didn’t really get the attention that they deserved.