Review: Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Hello everyone, and welcome back! Today I have another book from the infinite backlist to review.

For the first few months of the year, I really wasn’t reading at the rate I was hoping to. I set my reading goal for this year to 150 books, and as of writing this, I’ve only read 43.

But it’s feeling good lately to be making more steady progress; I’ve been reading three or more books a week, which was the pace I was banking on, so maybe I can catch up after all? It feels especially good to be chewing through the backlist I have lying around. Maybe one of these days I’ll try another reading marathon-type thing. If you know of any that you like, feel free to let me know!

Without further ado, though: Tiny Pretty Things.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Tiny Pretty Things

So have you seen the movie Black Swan? Do you wish you could watch a version of it with less trippy spooky stuff and more teens with obsessive moms and eating disorders and casting drama and cutthroat competition? (And also diversity!) This is the book for you.

This book follows three ballerinas, Gigi, Bette, and June, as they try to fight their way to the top, both through unrelenting ballet training and underhanded tactics. (Well, from the latter two. Gigi spends most of the book trying to be nice in a den of lions.) This was fun enough to follow, since the plot moves along quickly enough and maintains some mystery about some of the mind games that are going on. (Potentially triggering in terms of disordered eating behaviours, though, so keep that in mind!)

There are a lot of stereotypes in this book (the typical blonde mean girl, the girl with an eating disorder, the super nice talented girl who might finally get pushed too far, and so on), but the perspective characters do get some other facets, enough to make them seem like they could be interesting. However, this book sort of dodges around characters just when a reader might want to experience them reacting to something, so I feel like we don’t always get to actually connect with the characters in their moments of vulnerability. And this book doesn’t really resolve many plots/subplots, so any idea of character development happens more in hints than promises that are made good on.

The romances in this book are also eh. It’s not really clear why the protagonists are into the guys they like other than the fact that they’re receiving some positive attention. Which is sometimes enough when you’re insecure and inexperienced in relationships, which most of these characters are. But the thing about fiction is that it kind of demands more or else a reader won’t get invested in the relationships, which I didn’t here. Bette’s reasons for being so into her boyfriend seem more driven by her personal issues, which is much more interesting, but not very romantic.

I was kind of hoping considering that they point out that only two of the male ballerinas are straight that we’d get some queer ballerina romance, but nah. There’s one openly gay character, but we don’t really get to know him, so he comes off as very one-dimensional.

I’m kind of curious as to what happens after this because this book really didn’t provide many answers about what’s going on, but I also don’t know that I’m invested enough in the story to want to know. This book gave me reasons to sympathize with all of the three protagonists (even though Bette and June do plenty of questionable things, and Gigi spends so much time being the victim of stuff that I hardly feel like I got to know her) but I also don’t know if I care enough to see what happens?

I’m a little torn on this rating, but since I’m not totally inclined to pick up book two at this point, I know where I’m going to land on this one. However, if you’re really looking for something about mean girl sniping and ballet and you want more diverse young women in your YA (and you can handle reading about EDs), then you might really enjoy this.


As always, thanks for coming by, and I’ll definitely see you Friday! Otherwise: I’m building up a real queue of reviews these days and at some point the past I’m speaking to you from will become too distant and freaky, so we’ll see about post frequency changes. Thanks for bearing with me while I fiddle with my format, and have a great next read!

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