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On Pointe

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  464 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Our feet slipinto satin shoes

with stiff shanks,

hard boxing,

tight elastic,

and slippery ribbons

that wrap and end

in hard knots.

The frayed edges

are crammed

out of sight.

We stand.

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 takin
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Layla T
Feb 05, 2017 Layla T rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly Hirsh
Apr 15, 2007 Kimberly Hirsh rated it it was amazing
Clare is a dancer.  She wants to join the City Ballet, but she's taller than most professional dancers.  Can she make it?  If she can't, what will she do?  On Pointe examines what happens when our dreams change.  Clare begins the summer auditioning for the City Ballet, living with her grandfather, and chatting with her friend Rosella, who says negative things about their peers that make Clare uncomfortable.  By the end of summer, Clare's perspective and priorities have undergone a dramatic shift ...more
Nicole Catherine
Sep 30, 2009 Nicole Catherine rated it really liked it
Normally I hate novels in verse, but this one seemed really natural, like you were hearing Clare's thoughts.

I was amazed by this book. It was beautiful and sad and true. I'm not sure if a non-dancer would get much out of it (and hey, I've got an audition looming in my future that made the book that much more meaningful) but as a dancer of seven years, I loved it.
Jun 26, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read
When Clare's dream of being a ballet dancer is chrushed, she realises that there's more to life than being the prima ballerina. Pretty good.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Novel in verse that vividly describes the physical pain of being a ballet dancer.
MacKenna T
In book, there is drama, mystery, and excitement. You will follow the path of Claire's ballet life. In this book you really do learn how much effort and work it takes to be a ballet dancer. But besides the ballet you also see what happens in her daily life. Claire does have her ups and downs but she learned to learn from mistakes.
Sep 01, 2012 Amanda rated it it was ok
2 stars.
As long as you love what you do, you will succeed.

On Pointe is about Clare. She lives in Washington and wants to be in the City Ballet. It is her family's dream. Problem is, she's tall and competing against the others in her class.

Though it had good morals, On Pointe was still boring. It is written in verse and some parts, like the parts where Clare is just at home doing normal things, could have been written in normal first person POV prose. Other parts, however, were lovely in verse an
Isabel Cody
Apr 11, 2013 Isabel Cody rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book! I think it was a fabulous read, even if it wasn’t too much of a challenge. The writing was smooth- I loved the free verse style. It brought (I think) a lot more life and movement to the text, makes you picture it a different way.
I could truly connect to this book through my own experiences and that was a fantastic feeling. The character, Clare, finding that she can’t reach the par in the sport of her choice (in this case dancing) and stops after years of training.
May 04, 2013 KWinks rated it liked it
For the most part, I don't mind novels in verse. This was one of my Teen Book Club's picks for May, and I was glad to read it. I liked Clare and Grandpa. Both go through major life changes and we get to see what happens, but most importantly, we get to hear what Clare thinks about what is happening. And that was where the prose really worked for me. I was confused on a few points (Clare's age, for example). I had pictured her being in her early teens, but a line about "in several years I will be ...more
I am about halfway done with On Pointe. It begins with a girl named Clare, who has been training all her life to be the city ballet. Dance it hard work and it takes a lot of dedictaion. Clare has moved away from home to live with her grandfather, who lives closer to the conservatory. Even though Ballet is mainly based of skill, whether or not dancer make it into higher ballet is also based on looks. Clare has watched her ballet class lose members as they grow and change. The city ballet wants al ...more
Ellie Katzfey
I thought this book was really good. It was about a dancer, and since I'm a dancer I saw through her perspective. She took dance lessons in the summer while she lived with her grandfather cause her parents didn't live close enough to the conservatory where she took lessons. She was always the tallest in her class except for one of the boys, but she was still a really good dancer. She had a bulimic friend which she always told to not puke but whenever she did, she would get mad at her because her ...more
May 05, 2014 Alexa rated it liked it
Shelves: may-2014
Clare has dreamed to be a professional ballerina for as long as she can remember. Now at sixteen years old, she has made it to the level where you can audition for the New York City Ballet, but there’s only one problem: Clare dances very well and all that, but when she finds out she cannot join the Ballet due to her height (being too tall), her dream gets crushed like ice. What will she do now, when her whole life has been aiming for making it into the Ballet? With help from her family, Clare g ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Nicacbk rated it liked it
I'm actually a ballet dancer so I can relate to most of this stuff. We work really hard in class and we go through a lot of stress so we don't want it to be for nothing.

There are a lot of Bart stereotypes in this book. I'm telling you readers now. Dancers eat. I eat a lot and to read about girls puking out something like a protein bar. I felt disgusted because that doesn't happen in our ballet studio. Another thing that doesn't happen is that you get kicked out because your fat or too tall. No
Jo Oehrlein
Jul 22, 2012 Jo Oehrlein rated it liked it
Shelves: dance
Told in free verse, so it’s really quick to read, this book is the story of a teenager, Clare, her grandfather (who she’s living with for the summer), her parents, and her ballet classmates. The author says she danced, but based on the book I don’t think she enjoyed it. Her descriptions of pointe shoes involve lots of blood, blisters, and lost nails. The girls in her class aren’t friends with each other because of the huge amount of competition. Girls are forced out of the class when they’re too ...more
Jordan Hughes
Honestly I'm not a fan of ballet so I thought I wouldn't really enjoy this book at all. When I started reading and the main character was describing all the pressures of performing, I began to feel like I could relate to her and what she was thinking. As I continued reading it became less and less about ballet and there was even a point when she stopped altogether.It became more about how she was transforming as a person and I found that very interesting. She discovered what she really loved and ...more
Clare and her family share the dream of her becoming a dancer in the City Ballet company. Ten years of classes, practice and tuition have led her to the big audition where 16 students will be selected for the company. Clare loves ballet but knows to keep to herself around the other girls. There is a fierce, catty competitiveness that borders on cruel. After Clare gleefully completes a successful audition, Madame brings crashing down by saying she is too tall to be a ballerina and she doesn't hav ...more
Medeia Sharif
Nov 24, 2013 Medeia Sharif rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
For years Clare has been preparing herself to be a member of the City Ballet. She’s practiced, watched what she ate, and made many sacrifices. But there’s a problem. Not only is the level of competition high, with other highly competent dancers in her class, but she’s grown. She’s too tall and doesn’t match the height of the girls around her.

This novel in verse takes the reader inside the world of ballet through Clare’s point of view. She has what it takes, but her height stands in her way. Als
Apr 10, 2013 Aalewan rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Isabel K.
Jan 07, 2016 Isabel K. rated it it was amazing
This is such a good book! It reminds me of my goals to be on Pointe (hopefully soon). I would recommend this book to any dancer. Also, I looked at the page behind the title page and saw that the book was written in free verse, which is really cool! The one thing I disliked about this book is that it practically judges dancers by saying, "oh they can't be tall or 'heavy'". Dancers come in all shapes and sizes and it shouldn't matter how you look. I think this book could have been equally as good ...more
D'Arcy Rowe
Nov 13, 2015 D'Arcy Rowe rated it liked it
A great coming of age book. Clare wants to be a ballerina and is very good but after she tries out for a troupe finds out that she is too tall to go further in her preferred career. There is a lot of sadness and angst but she comes to term with it.

Clare is living with her grandfather and while this is happening he has a stroke. Her parents come to live with them and while there they all learn to cope with this tragedy, Clare and her mothers communication problems resolve, and Clare learns that s
Sep 25, 2010 Nora rated it it was amazing
I really love this book. Even though it is written in verse, the language isn’t flowery, and you don’t need to spend hours decoding excessive similes and metaphors. That being said, the text is beautiful, and describes the art of ballet perfectly. The characters are believable, with realistic dancer problems; injury, not being able to afford classes and shoes, and eating disorders. The ballet terminology is all correct, (about time!) most likely due to Grover’s clear dance experience.
Feb 11, 2013 Madeline rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book about Clare. She has been dancing for 10 years, and her dream is to make it to City Ballet Company. Her dream is so close, but the pressure is getting to her. Her best friend is throwing up to be skinny, and she is still growing. Will her height stop her from getting to the dream that she has worked for her entire life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a dancing book with emotion and drama.
Jul 29, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
On Pointe does a fantastic job of describing the life of a ballerina through poetry. It is also a great story of a girl rediscovering her dream after she thinks that it is lost. The detail and dialogue is well written as is the rest of the story. With a great plot and characters that are easy to f all in love with I'd recommend this book to lots of people, but especially those who love to dance as much as I do.
Sara Britton
Jul 18, 2010 Sara Britton rated it did not like it
Ehh, an extremely forgettable read. Perhaps it's just me but I didn't gain a thing from the story; Clare is a normal teenager with attitude issues, who doesn't really learn or develop much throughout the story. The whole book is a very quick read, very shallow and melodramatic. I thought i'd like it because I love ballet, but all it does is make a villian of the art. The author's got to be seriously butthurt about dance, or something.
Sophie D
Apr 09, 2014 Sophie D rated it really liked it
This book hit really close to home. Not because of the dance stuff but more because of the situation she got into. I also think this book is poorly named because it's more about fighting through failure and going through things and using a passion to help your way out. Overall I think this was a good book and I liked it.
Jun 29, 2014 Kathryn rated it really liked it
On Pointe is a book about a girl named Clare. The book is written in poems from Clare's point of view. She wants to be in the City Ballet, and after she auditions for it, she is told by her teacher that her skills are good and she could be in City Ballet, but she's too tall and therefore cannot. This was a nice book about a dancer realizing how she dances to dance, and not for her dream.
Jessica Noelle
Apr 06, 2013 Jessica Noelle rated it it was amazing
This was the quickest read of my life, yet it has managed to stay with me all these years. Perhaps it was the eloquent style of Grover's words or the unique view of life from a teenage ballereina... If you're on the edge about reading it though, just do it. It's a quick read, so why not? Just watch, once you flip the last page, you'll be craving for more free verse poetry. Trust me.
Anna Francesca
Jan 12, 2011 Anna Francesca rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, poetry
I wish the characters in this story were more developed. I felt like there were too many two-dimensional people in this world, and the "we dance and therefore have eating disorders" plot is overdone. That said, the comparison of not fulfilling a dream to suffering a stroke is interesting, and the ways the family copes with Grandpa's ordeal are intriguing.
Nov 18, 2010 Z rated it liked it
Your standard ballet book of girl loves ballet, has some life issues, decides ballet might not be for her. Of note because it's told in verse. I'd really like to see more ballet books that break out of this mold, but sadly this doesn't happen too often.
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Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Last book review! 1 9 Apr 30, 2013 11:10PM  
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Lorie Ann Grover is an awarded YA novelist and board book author whose works include Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn, and Parents Magazine Best Children's Book, Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish. She co-founded readergirlz and readertotz. Living with her husband in the foothills of Mt. Rainier, she writes, practices weapons tai chi, and watches hawks take flight.
More about Lorie Ann Grover...

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