Tonya Harding Meets Bunheads

So several factors played a key part in bringing this topic to my mind. As readers will know, I recently reviewed Bunheads by Sophie Flack. If you missed it, please pop over to it and familiarize yourself with my thoughts. A while back, my roommate and I were watching 30 for 30: The Price of Gold on Netflix, about Tonya Harding and “the whack heard around the world”. I highly recommend the documentary.

While reading Bunheads, I kept flashing back to this story. One of the things that made the Tonya Harding scandal so juicy was that it felt like it was made for the movies. And I realized that it would also make a great young adult book.

First, let me say, I am sure there are some legal issues to developing a book about this. I am not a lawyer nor do I have access to one to ask, so let’s just assume a fictionalized version of this story would be out (aka not allowed).

But when I was reading Bunheads, I realized it wasn’t the ballet book I really wanted to read. There are rivalries in the book to be sure, but nothing that was as drastic as the events of 20 or so years ago.

The ballet book I want is a bit more dramatic.

Picture this:

On the night of one of the biggest performances of the year, the soloist is brutally attacked (but not like murdered-attacked, more like broken legs (still gruesome, but you know)). Shock reverberates among the company’s dancers. Who could have done such a thing? Only young corps dancer, What’s Her Name, suspects the culprit is one of their own. Now she must figure out who broke the soloist legs before the next dancer is taken out.

Ballerinas are scary, man. Black Swan anyone?


Bunheads Review


Warning***Minor Spoilers***

Title: Bunheads

Author: Sophie Flack

Publisher: Poppy (Hachette)

Flap copy on the book cover:

In a crowd of beautiful ballet dancers, how can one girl stand out?
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances, and complicated backstage relationships. But when she meets a spontaneous and irresistibly cute musician named Jacob, her universe begins to change.
Until now, Hannah has happily followed the company’s unofficial mantra, “Don’t think, just dance.” But as Jacob opens her eyes to the world beyond the theater, Hannah must decide whether to compete against the other “bunheads” for a star soloist spot or to strike out on her own.”

I wanted to like this book. I needed to like this book. Ballet books are what I have wanted to read for a few years. Granted this book published in 2011, but it was time to read it. And for the actually ballet portions, I liked it.

But the characters killed me. How this book got a starred Kirkus review, I will never know. I get that Hannah meets a boy and re-evaluates her priorities to ballet. I can even support that. But OMG, can someone just smack Jacob?

First off, any man whose pick up line is that you are “different from other girls” must not have a high opinion of those girls. My instincts proved right. Throughout the book, Hannah has to keep explaining why she can’t meet up with him. She has a job, dude, and it is not a 9-5er. I got so angry at his clinging, “you never want to hang out” attitude. As a result, I actually got mad at Hannah when she felt guilty. Never let a man make you feel guilty for working towards goals!

By the end, I was just glad to be done so I could move on to more important things. Like this blog.

Final Question: Would I have acquired this if it came across my desk? No. I don’t know who was smoking what over there at Kirkus but this book would not have been something I wanted to work on for a year. Which is a shame since I really wanted it to be the ballet book of my dreams.