I'd forgotten how much I love young adult fiction before I picked up this book. It's been years since I picked up my last YA book, after years of obsessively reading them. An old coworker, Crystal, herself a voracious young adult reader, recommended some books to me after I asked her why an adult read so many children's books. Clearly the joke was on me. Many YA books are just plain awesome.
I bought Bunheads on a recent trip to Colorado. The title comes from a slang term for ballerina. Hannah is a ballerina in the corps of the Manhattan Ballet. After spending her life working hard to first get into the corps, then get promoted to a soloist, real life starts intruding onto Hannah's life, making her wonder if her choices that were once perfect for her are still right for her now. She meets a guy, makes life long friends, and starts dreaming of life outside the ballet. After sacrificing most of her childhood for the ballet bar, doubts start creeping into her mind about how willing she is to sacrifice most of her adult life as well.
Hannah is smart, brave, and willing to work hard. As a former ballerina, I loved the minute details of life behind the curtains. This is Flack's first novel, and she did well. She's a former ballerina, which adds a sense of realism to the hard work and dedication present everyday in a ballet company.