Title: Up to this Pointe
Author: Jennifer Longo
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 355 pages
Harper Scott is a seventeen year old that wants to be a professional ballerina. She has made a plan with her best friend, Kate. They will both dance for the San Francisco Ballet and share an inexpensive loft together and live in the city forever. However, it is clear from page one that something has gone wrong with The Plan because Harper has arranged to spend six months in Antarctica working as a science research intern. Thanks to her ancestor being Robert Falcon Scott, one of the first explorers to reach the South Pole, she has been given a coveted spot.
This is an excellent book that pulled me in from page one. The story was told in alternating chapters between the present, when Harper arrives at the McMurdo science station on Antarctica, and the past, 140 days earlier when she was preparing for the San Francisco Ballet audition. Therefore, I was anxious to keep reading to find out the reasons that led Harper to leave her life for six months.
I picked up this book because a local male author told me that he loved it, and it brought him to tears even though he didn’t care a bit about ballet. I had to laugh as I read it because it is a book that is definitely going to appeal more to girls, particularly teens although as an adult, I loved it.
The author does an excellent job at character development, particularly with Harper. Written in first person, it is easy to empathize with Harper who is vulnerable and raw with emotions. People will relate to this book because it is about losing a childhood dream and coming out on the other side. Even if ballet wasn’t your dream, so many children dream of near impossible to achieve careers, e.g. professional or Olympic athletes, artists, or musicians. And unfortunately, often during the teen years, reality takes those dreams away.
This book is classified as Young Adult and is therefore intended for ages twelve to eighteen. I plan to recommend it to my own twelve-year-old daughter but wouldn’t go younger. There are references to premarital sex and drinking although this is primarily something Harper observes among the adult residents of the science station. She does have a few drinks one night and kisses a boy. I don’t recall any foul language.
I am a member of two book clubs, and we read a variety of genres. Plus, as a Young Adult author, I read a lot YA and MG books to improve my writing. And as a mother, I am always on the lookout for good books for my children.
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