C.G. Drews's Reviews > Tiny Pretty Things

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, mental-illness, read-2016, young-adult
Recommended to C.G. by: Emily Mead

Okay WOW I'm severely traumatised. There's nothing like a school of backstabbing ballerinas to get me very grateful that I am a potato and the most dancing I've committed is head-bopping to Incey Wincey Spider to please my baby nieces. (Note: they were not pleased. Little beasts.) BECAUSE DANCING IS FREAKING SCARY AND COMPETITIVE. I was like so sure everyone was going to end up DEAD in this book. omg. Who has shattered nerves? Oh. Oh it's just me.

Oh but ignore my whining, BECAUSE I TRULY DID ENJOY THE BOOK! Even though it focuses on ballet and, we've established, I ain't a ballerina -- I still absolutely loved the writing, how captivating the story line was, and all the characters. It had a huge cast and yet still managed to flesh everyone out?!? That is amazing. And like everyone was completely AWFUL to some degree. I think I hate them??? But I also care about them??? So these two authors are absolute wizards and we should be careful of them because clearly they're fuelled on drinking the traumatic tears of their readers.

It's also told in 3 points-of-view...which I did enjoy, but I wish it'd been 2. I don't understand June's perspective. She has an interesting storyline and all, but it just seems weak compared to the others and I honestly felt her POV was filler.

GIGI: She is the besssst. She's the "new girl" to the school and an absolutely FLAWLESS ballerina. She's black and basically the only black ballerina in the older classes, so she often feels ostracize. All the girls are really horrible to her BECAUSE SHE'S SO FREAKING GOOD. And the bullying she goes through?!?! It's insane. She's also really sweet and nice and kind and....basically I love her.
BETTE: She's like the worst mean girl of EVER. She's absolutely nasty and vicious and gorgeous and she hates Gigi and waoooooah. Please no one leave these girls in a room with a knife, okay? Okay. I really didn't like Bette, but her mum is AWFUL and Bette's also a drug addict and...agh. I felt bad for her still. Despite her being 10000% degrees of awful.
JUNE: Like I said, I didn't really get June. She's half Korean and her father was a dancer, but also is a mystery and her mother doesn't want June to dance and #drama and #angst. She's also anorexic/bulimic. But her storyline felt really detached from Bette/Gigi's (whose stories are more entwined) SO YEAH. I don't really care about June. I was mildly bored in her chapters.

I also have much love for the secondary characters! And by "love" I mean, half the time I'm freaking terrified of them. Like I suspect Henri is a total psychopath. I loved Alec (Gigi's boyfriend and Bette's ex) and he was so sweet BUT HE'S OBLIVIOUS. And Will is sweet and gay and never gets lead roles and I feel bad for him. Eleanor I just hated by the end. And I'm FURIOUS at about 98% of EVERYONE'S parents. Like seriously. Read this book if you want to take Class 101 On How To Mess Up Your Kid Forever. (Except Gigi's parents, who were amazing.)

The romance is VERY complicated and never healthy. hahah. I mean, who needs a healthy romance? NOT ARTISTS AND ATHLETES. *pirouettes into tragedy* I mean, Gigi is a better dancer than Bette and THEN Bette's boyfriend dumped her and went with Gigi!! LIKE IT'S JUST ASKING FOR SO MUCH MURDER-POTENTIAL. (Note this isn't a murder mystery, but it feels like it wants to be.) And there's lots of "stealing boyfriends" and cheating amongst the other characters and also emotional manipulation and just ahhhhh. It's hard to look away from BECAUSE IT'S SUCH A WORRY.

• set in a ballet boarding school
• it actually talks about ballet and technical terms for stuff and, as someone who knows naught, I thought it was really interesting to learn
• It addresses mental health issues, particularly eating disorders, and disabilities
• Everyone is so AMAZINGLY TALENTEd like woah how can people even stand on their toes. I can't even stand up on my average flat feet sometimes because I like to regularly trip and cuddle the floor.
• And everyone is beautiful, which usually bothers me, but it's not like "SHE IS BEAUTIFUL! HE IS BEAUTIFUL!" all the time so it wasn't irritating to read.
• It's really suspenseful!!
• And darkly addictive.

• Okay it did NOT feel like it ended. It just stopped. So cliffhanger? Yes. I WANTED ANSWERS AND I GOT EXACTLY ZERO.
• I'm miffed at how the school really didn't look into the bullying. They got all upset about it, but seriously...they didn't do anything.
• I really think June's POV was unnecessary.
• And the book WAS nearly 500 pages....which I think is too long for a contemporary. There were tons of instances when I just wanted to speed things up or run someone over, ya know, normal stuff.

ALL IN ALL: This was an excellent dark book of ballerinas and the drive to be the BEST. It's addictive and kind of like a train wreck and it has a HUGE mystery element of "who the heck is behind all the bullying let's suspect everyone". The characters were awful nasty little souls...and yet I still lowkey care about them. (Except Bette. I honestly think she needs to walk into a brick wall. Twice.) And the boys were complex and interesting. And the STRENGTH and STAMINA to dance like 6+ hours a day?!??! Excuse me while I go be a potato of awe.

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Reading Progress

January 5, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 5, 2015 – Shelved
November 29, 2016 – Started Reading
November 29, 2016 –
page 110
24.55% "Everyone in this book is super horrible. WHY ARE BALLET DANCERS ALWAYS SO SCARY???"
November 29, 2016 –
page 276
61.61% "Is everyone going to DIE???????? Because I feel like they all are."
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: mental-illness
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
November 29, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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Emily Mead Finally!!! Now onto book 2 please :)

message 2: by M F (new)

M F Honestly I am the same with floors in that I regularly feel the need to test gravity, and I also manage to open doors into my face fairly regularly, yet I still dance and still got as far as pointe. Proof that the uncoordinated disasters among us can still be dancers ;) Even though I like dance, I think I'll skip this one because the competitive backstabby side of dance has always been the part I hated -- the first dance school I went to was a bit like that, as was my Irish dance school, and I've been blessed over the last few years to go somewhere that was way more chill. It just... stresses me out. And I know so many lovely dancers, too, so I feel the need to defend them from stereotypes of bitchiness, haha. (Me? I'm a jealous bitch, I'm just too shy to act on or talk about it, so nobody realises and it only harms me.)

message 3: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle "Pirouettes into tragedy" I'm laughing so hard right now , but great review! Debating about whether or not I want to read this or not

C.G. Drews @Emily: NEVER SATISFIED OMG. *obediently goes off to find book 2*

@Miriam: I MAINTAIN YOU SHOULD WRITE A BALLET BOOK WHERE NO ONE NEARLY DIES. But I'm very impressed that you're uncoordinated too yet dance. xD I mean, I run?? So I guess I'm not a complete disaster but still. The energy and muscles and stamina to dance. 0_0 *sits down just thinking about it*


message 5: by heather ||-// (new)

heather ||-// just saw the words "NEVER SATISFIED" pop up on my feed and now i'm singing satisfied from HAMILTON AHH I'M SUCH HAMILTRASH


message 6: by Ecke (new)

Ecke Brandt Wow, I want to read this now.
I've been in the dance world and it's not good for your health, I swear. So MUCH competitiveness, and there's envy everywhere. I miss it sometimes but I'm glad I quitted most of the times.
Totally going to read this!!

C.G. Drews @Heather: *quietly whispers has never listened to Hamilton*

@Ecke: omg I believe you! It seems downright terrifying at times...so much pressure?!

message 8: by M F (new)

M F Cait, I literally can't run because my joints and stuff are too messed up, and I'm horribly unfit so when I try I nearly die because I suck at breathing. Ballet uses a different kind of strength (though I admit my stamina is currently terrible because FATIGUE IS A BITCH). :)

message 9: by Abi (new)


message 10: by Zoe (new)

Zoe I love the premise of this one and seeing you enjoyed it so much just makes me want to read it even more. So excited to give it a try! Wonderful review Cait, as always. <3

Vanessa I'm only half way through the book and I feel exactly how you feel already. I kind of want to skip to the last 50 pages because I'm starting to yawn a bit...

message 12: by Renata (new) - added it

Renata What a great review....Wow that was funny. I was going to pass on this book but now I think I'm gonna put it on my list. I need a new roller coaster ride and by the sounds of it, this will do. Thanks for the review loved it.

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Renata: Aww thanks! It's always lovely to know my reviews are enjoyable. :D

Cindy I loved this book. Can't wait til you read the sequel

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