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Bunheads

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  5,998 Ratings  ·  930 Reviews
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants t
...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published October 10th 2011 by Poppy
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Tatiana
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in inner workings of ballet
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kirkus
Shelves: 2011, ya
Bunheads is a very subdued, gentle novel about ballet dancing. Think Black Swan



minus craziness, blood and sex.

The quietness of this novel works both against it and to its advantage.

Ballet dancing is an unforgiving, competitive, extremely demanding form of art. (Imagine being fired for having breasts big enough to require a bra!) It would be very easy to find some high drama in it to write a shocking novel around - backstabbery, injuries, life-threatening dieting, exhausting, endless rehearsals -
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Emily May
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it


I didn't really think I'd like this book, I have to admit. I was curious about it after reading Tatiana's review, but this novel has been described as all the things that usually bore me to death: gentle, subtle, subdued, quiet... I've read these kinds of stories before that are meant to be all about the realism with little excitement, sadness or anything particularly noteworthy - I have always found them dull. Until now.

The realism in Bunheads really works to its advantage and makes the story
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Darkfallen
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, read-n-reviewed
While this book was so good, for me, that I finished it in one day; I fear that it may not be as good for others. Here's what I mean...

I trained in ballet for 15 years. I basically learned to walk, was potty trained, and then off the dance school I went at the age of 2. So when I was reading this book, it was more than that. I was seeing this book. I loved the way Sophie Flack walks you through the ballets Hannah is doing step by step. However she uses all of the proper French terms for each ste
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Mary
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, dance-books
I'm stoked for this book. My appreciation for Sophie Flack goes back more than 10 years, when I desperately envied her and the life I imagined she had. Beautiful, thin, and definitely going somewhere, she was featured all over the Discount Dance Supply catalogs and their Dance Magazine advertisements when I was a teenager. Pouring over catalogs, magazines, and the few dance books I could get access to in semi-rural Virginia, I strived for ballet success. I craved both knowledge of and entry to t ...more
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Ballet, dance, life, obsession, risk.

I'd seen this book floating around and although it piqued my interest, it took me years to pick it up. It wasn't until I was rereading Ballet Shoes for the umpteenth time that I wondered what it was really like.

I found this book to be honest and wry and quite matter of fact. It didn't pretty everything up and glamourise an intense, difficult discipline. That said, it did have a few laughs and it did have me smiling more often then not.

This was a pret
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Rachel Brown
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
A YA novel about Hannah, a 19-year-old dancer in a huge New York ballet company. She went off to study at the Manhattan Ballet Academy when she was very young, and so ballet has been her entire life.

It begins when she’s getting frustrated with not having a life, partly due to meeting a quirky musician whose name I have already forgotten. Will she quit ballet, get a life, and stay with Quirky McWhatsisface? Or will she continue her obsessive routine and maybe become a star at the cost of misery
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ALEXA
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
FIRST THOUGHTS: As a former ballet dancer, there is something incredibly magical about novels that manage to capture it perfectly - Bunheads is one of those stories. I'm so in love with how performances and ballet life is described, so while it's a quieter contemporary read than I'm used to, my affection for it is pretty strong.
Nicola
Dec 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Awful. Gave up after ~40%.

Books like Bunheads remind me that I can be a little harsh in my reviews. It's easy to laser in on the flaws of a novel -- a cliched storyline here; an underdeveloped character there -- and forget how much of a colossal achievement it is to write 80,000 words of a story that progresses and maintains a reader's interest and contains characters that could pass for real people. Most books aren't, by real standards, "badly written". They're simply flawed.

Bunheads, however,
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Krystle
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

I guess I’ll have to thank Natalie Portman’s movie, Black Swan, for getting me to pick up this book.

I was totally fascinated and riveted by the ballet parts in this book. Ah, it shows how far ballet dancers would go to get the parts they want; from extreme dieting, an addiction to constant rigorous practice, denial of personal interactions and social lives, and an over importance placed on physical beauty and form. It’s not psychologically scary like Black Swan is but it is raw, gritt
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Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I was eagerly anticipating this book being published in the UK after hearing rave reviews of it from many international reviewers. I've never been particularly interested in the ballet, but this book gave a very fascinating insight into the dancing world. This book will certainly appeal to anyone who has an interest in dance as well as fans of coming of age, contemporary novels. Apparently, this book also has a lot of likeness to Black Swan (though toned down), though I've never watched it - so ...more
thepessimisticreader
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Don't call me a ballerina."

Ballet is not pretty. It's gritty. It takes strength, and it is not easy to be strong and stand on a toe tip when you have not eaten all day.

I did not think I would like this book, I thought it would address only the gist of ballet. I did not know this was written by someone who was an experienced dancer, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The story follows nineteen-year old Hannah Ward through her struggle to rise through the ranks of the Manhattan Ballet Company.
...more
Lessa
Nov 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya
The writing was pretty terrible, after reading the biography of the author, it was pretty obvious the story was at minimum semi-autobiographical (not that theres necessarily anything wrong with that), and I felt that she peppered the action sequences with ballet lingo to try to make her work credible in the ballet world. The main character, Hannah, develops and has the same epiphany throughout the entire book but it takes her 300 pages to make the choice she's obviously been making all along. He ...more
Fiona
Bunheads captivated me with its realistic portrayal of a teenage girl’s descent from the ballet world. Flack’s debut novel is unflinchingly honest. As Hannah discovers a new life outside of ballet, she begins to question whether she’s willing to sacrifice it all for the one thing she’s ever wanted: to become a soloist.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves dance or a sweet, understated story. It was Bunheads that pulled me up out of my reading slump and introduced me to a world very different
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ALPHAreader
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
When she was eight-years-old, Hannah’s dance instructor told her young students to “Dance each step as if it were your last.” Hannah didn’t know what she meant then, but now that she is nineteen-years-old and apart of the corps de ballet of the Manhattan Ballet Company, she is starting to understand the truth behind those words.

The corps de ballet dancers are not ‘real’ ballerinas – they are the dancers behind the true stars, the real prima ballerinas who dance solos and are the rock-stars of th
...more
Laura
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it
(full disclosure: I was the author's librarian waaay back when!)

This is a great look at how a girl's dream (ok, passion and obsession) with becoming a ballerina can change as she becomes a woman. With the Metropolitian Ballet and its Academy standing in for New York City Ballet and its School of American Ballet, we also get a great behind-the-scenes look at the lives of those girls, the ones that really pursued the dream to become the ballerina many of us wanted to be when we were younger but d
...more
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! As a dancer in high school, I totally related to this book. Everything about the dancing world is right to the T, and I loved the characters.

What I liked most about this book, is the great plot line. Filled with aspiring dancers yearning for the spot light, to get to that place it takes really hard work. I loved all the dancers in the book, the competitions and the drama. The feeling of the rush of adrenaline while on stage filled my veins as I read this book. I haven't danced
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Emily
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swoon
After reading a few chapters of Bunheads, I began to suspect this was a book I wouldn’t like. The pace was quite slow, the technical ballet terms made my brain fuzzy, and there were so many characters introduced that they were all beginning to blur together. But I had read many glowing reviews by reviewers I trust, so I persevered. And somewhere around the halfway mark, I started to understand why Sophie Flack wrote Bunheads this way. The slower pace, the huge cast of characters, and the in-dept ...more
Sarah
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
16/3 - A lot of other reviewers are seeing Black Swan similarities or are reading the book because they loved the movie. Maybe I'm old, but I'm not thinking of Black Swan, I'm thinking of Centre Stage from 2000. I loved that movie when it came out and it's still one of my all-time favourite dance movies. There are quite a few plot/character similarities between the two (certainly more than with Black Swan). Hannah's got two guys after her (although neither are dancers, as they are in Centre Stag ...more
Nancy
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
My take: Hannah is a thinly veiled Sophie Flack, a former member of the Manhattan Ballet Company and a solid voice in Young Adult (semi) fiction. Her life experience has clearly and definitively shaped her writer's voice. Flack's story is about Hannah, a dancer. She spares no reader from the brutality of ballet. On stage, the dancers are graceful and defy gravity. They dance in unison and in perfect time. But performing is only one aspect of the job. The work is grueling and punishing, both phys ...more
Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
Bunheads was such an indulgent read for me, I’m fascinated by anything to do with dance- despite not being a dancer myself- I love watching movies like Black Swan and Step Up, old childhood books like Ballet Shoes, and TV show dancing competitions. I love everything from the beautiful costumes and dramatic make up to the fairy-tale like sets to the art of dance itself. I’ve been to the theatre to watch ballet a few times and every time I get so caught up in the story that the ballerina’s tell wi ...more
Liza Wiemer
Jan 01, 2012 added it
Shelves: arc
I received a copy of the BUNHEADS ARC from Heidi of YABibliophile. http://www.yabibliophile.com/ Thanks Heidi for passing this on to me.
Ever wondered what it's like to be a ballet dancer? If so, BUNHEADS is the novel for you. Even though Sophie Flack's novel is fiction, it's clear she draws upon her firsthand knowledge from when she danced for the New York City Ballet from 2000-2009. She does an exquisite job explaining this world and making it real for the reader - the intensity, competition, e
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Bethany Huang
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I've known about before it was released. I've seen it multiple times in my library back in New York but never picked it up because I figured I'd never forget about it and someday I'd eventually get on to reading it. And now I'm regretting it, because this book is like looking out my window and seeing a completely different world. I read this book in one whole sitting- I didn't get up even once- because I didn't want this beautiful and realistic story to end.

Reading about Hannah's
...more
anotherbennet
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
★ 4.5 ★

♡ Just when you think you can't go on, somewhere a little light comes on. ♡

Such a good surprise!! After almost 2 months of a major reading slump, this book was such a nice read and totally got me out of it. Sophie's Flack writing and description is simple and beautiful. I felt connected to the characters and to the plot. I could totally picture myself following Hannah, the main character, walking through MBA and get attached to her. I think Sophie does a gob job filling the reader on what
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Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Aug 28, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: own
Hannah Ward, nineteen, revels in the competition, intense rehearsals, and dazzling performances that come with being a member of Manhattan Ballet's Company's corps de ballet, but after meeting handsome musician Jacob she begins to realize there could be more to her life.



Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. The ballet insider part felt so real and unique, and the boy parts were pretty luscious. I did feel that the ending almost came on a little too fast - I would have appreciated more struggle towards the climax. But overall, I really enjoyed this one. And the costumes and frocks and makeup! Fab! =)
Nadja
Interessanter Einblick in das (Backstage-) Leben einer Ballettänzerin. Symphatische Charakterin und spannend gemacht, jedoch mit viel Ballettvokanbular. Hätte ein Glossar noch nett gefunden, plié, arabesque, usw kurz oder mit Bildchen erklärt.
MCPLD Youth Department
Do ballerinas always think about food? This book makes me think that they do, which is a minor detail that I liked- it made the book seem very realistic.
Marco Esteves
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-english
hmmmm a little disappointing but still rlly good
Marta Barrales
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, i-need
"The company is a collection of one hundred very different people, from all over the world, but we all believe in the power and importance of art. That's what binds us, keeps us together, through the effort and the intensity of the competition."

 If there’s something you should know about me, it’s that I love ballet. I love it more than cereal or Netflix, or sleeping on a bed. And it’s not often that you come across a realistic portrayal of it, most TV or film incarnations are overly dramatized (
...more
Francine Soleil
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fluffy-reads


I was one of those little girls who wanted to be a ballerina. I'm not really sure why, but I never really pursued it. My parents, being business people, didn't encourage the arts, even though all their children leaned towards it. Just seeing the ballerinas on the cover of this book made me want to read it.

Despite being fascinated by the performance arts, I actually don't know much about it. So I was really surprised by what I learned in this book. Bunheads paints the backstage picture of the ba
...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Bunheads 1 4 Jun 20, 2012 07:47PM  
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Sophie Flack danced with the New York City Ballet from 2000 to 2009. She is currently studying English at Columbia University. Bunheads is her first novel.
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