Theo is better now.
She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
When I first heard about Pointe, my initial thought was “yay, another ballet book!” Because, I mean, look at that gorgeous cover. And that title clearly screams ballet, am I right? But no. This book has very little to do with ballet in the long run – yes, the main character dances, and yes, she’s extremely talented, but the title itself has very little to do with Theo’s dancing and more with her state of mind throughout this book. Even after reading the summary, I wasn’t expecting this to be such a painful, dark read. I know; maybe the coloring of the cover should have warned me, but it didn’t. As such, I am ultimately not sure how I feel about the book upon finishing it, and am aware that my review may very well be all over the place. I had a lot of feelings and emotions while reading Theo’s story, which is the mark of a good author, but doesn’t make for an enjoyable reading experience, at least not for me.
Theo was a difficult character to like. She makes really poor choices – and yes, her mental health throughout this book is not in a good place – but there were so many times, particularly when she started getting mixed up with Hosea that I just wanted to reach into the pages and shake her. She’s dealing with a lot – her regression into full-blown anorexia, the return of her childhood friend who’s been missing for four years (and the part she unwittingly played in that), auditions for her summer ballet school training – and it all culminates into making her someone who I just really had a difficult time understanding. The only time I liked her was when she was dancing – which was probably the point, because that’s when she felt the best about herself – but she treats others rather casually with a seeming disregard to their feelings. I dunno. I just had a hard time with her.
The whole story arc of Donovan’s disappearance is told in bits and pieces, to the point that it became almost frustrating for me at times because I just wanted to know what was going on. Theo herself is trying to understand what happened, so I get why it’s a bit piecemeal, but man it made things frustrating. And the fact that it takes her so freaking long to tell ANYONE about what’s going on in her head also didn’t help my reading experience. And I don’t care how much she liked Hosea, I thought he was a giant jerk who wanted his cake and to eat it, too. I get that they had some sort of connection, but the guy never treated her the way he should have, and I didn’t like how long it took her to figure that out. But love is never easy, I guess, and Theo was so very damaged that I can’t really blame her for any of it, even if I was yelling at her a lot in my head.
There is also a LOT of potentially triggering things in this book. Eating disorders, child abuse, sexual acts involving minors, this book is loaded and sets the entire tone. It’s dark, depressing and made my heart hurt a whole lot. But it’s also horrifyingly realistic, and therefore a worthwhile read. I can’t really say I liked Pointe – it’s not that kind of book – but I will say it’s well-written and eye-opening and important. Just don’t let that tulle-covered cover fool you; this ain’t your typical ballet book, that’s for sure!