** spoiler alert **
FYI: This review is only a little spoilerish, but since I mention specific scenes I thought it best to check the box.
I'm really torn on how to rate Various Positions. I love dance centric books. After reading other reviews I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into when I grabbed my copy off the shelf. It is the story of a ballerina and the world of ballet, but things started taking dark and twisty turns that led to a very sexually charged tone that did not benefit the novel.
I plowed through the first half of Various Positions quite quickly. I wasn't sure how I felt about Georgia or her dysfunctional family dynamic, but obviously the author did something right because I was hooked. Once she arrives at the ballet school things roll right on down the hill of strange. Everything was just so sexual and dramafied. Georgia is 14 years old and has her sights set on a man older than her mother. The steps she takes to win his attention just left me feeling icky. Maybe I'm a prude, but I feel labeling this novel YA is a major stretch.
As for the characters, they all felt a little forced. The mean girls were just too mean. The scene at the coffee shop, that can only be described as hazing, was over the top and completely unrealistic. Georgia doesn't stay true to character at all. She flops between worldly ballerina and naïve 14 year old with the flip of a switch. The whole porn situation involving Georgia was just too much and almost made me want to stop reading. It didn't seem like something I could even imagine a 14-year-old girl wanting to explore. I understand the significance of it when I look at the plot as a whole, but I truly wish the author could have found a different stepping-stone to set the chain of events into motion. The scene on the subway is another situation that had me completely baffled and a little queasy. I couldn't grasp how Georgia's interest in sex and men had escalated so very quickly. Had this book been more focused on the trials ballerinas face and less on ballerinas trying to get laid I really could have enjoyed it so much more. If Georgia had been an older teen or in her early 20's I may have looked at this book completely different (minus the porn thing because that just isn't going to work for me in any genre).
I also didn't like the ending. It didn't seem like any type of lesson was learned and all the dysfunction and unhealthy behavior felt a bit glamorized. As the mom of a dancer this is not the type of a book I'd ever want to find in her young hands.