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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra

Tiny Pretty Things (edition 2016)

by Sona Charaipotra (Author)

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2701164,759 (3.66)4
Title:Tiny Pretty Things
Authors:Sona Charaipotra (Author)
Info:HarperTeen (2016), Edition: Reprint, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra



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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This was everything I wanted it to be! I loved the sabotage and the mystery surrounding it. It added this thick tension to the story that had you craving more. But the characters really make this. I had so many feelings and thoughts about each lead. I loved their character stories filled with gossip, weaknesses and strengths. I have my theories about what will happen next but I'm so excited to start book 2 tonight! ( )
  seriesousbooks | Aug 12, 2019 |
Wow, these ballerinas are ruthless!! I really hope that this is not even a little bit accurate to what the real world of ballet is like. Most of the characters in this book are in serious need of therapy. Then when sane and normal Gigi comes in they eat the poor girl alive. The lack of authority was concerning and made things a little less believable but definitely made for an entertaining read. It also kept me guessing as to who did what and who could really be trusted. I loved that there were multiple point of views as well. ( )
  KeriLynneD | Mar 23, 2019 |
This book, long as it was, feels unfinished and I'm not certain I will read the sequel. I wonder if I'll ever get to the bottom of all those rumors.
  rainierstranger | Mar 23, 2019 |
Wow this book really pulled me in from the first page.
I wouldn’t necessarily have thought to pick up a book about ballet but I saw it recommended because of other books I’ve enjoyed. Jeese I’m glad I took the suggestion. Totally engrossing story.

This is about a super competitive ballet conservatory.
It’s hard to get into the school but once you’re enrolled, it’s even harder to be the best. Getting the staring roles is a huge deal, it could be the first step in a career as a ballerina.

When Gigi joins the school she has no idea what she’s gotten into. She’s a sweet, innocent girl with a love of dancing and a natural ability to dance.
When she gets the next starring role, things start to get crazy.

Bette is from a family of dancers. She’s been dancing for years. Her mom expects Bette to be the best. When Bette doesn’t get the lead, her mom is not supportive. Her mom fuels the flame of competition.

June has never had the lead and her mom doesn’t really want her at the ballet conservatory. So, basically, June gets a leading role or June gets taken out of the school.

So, there are actually a number of girls that need Gigi to fail in order to get what they want.

I’m not going to spoil any storylines, I’m just going to say that things get crazy.

Very entertaining. Very dramatic. I’m really glad I bought both books together because I really need to start the next one tomarrow! ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
I honestly couldn’t tell you what it is, but there is something about the “Drama and mean girl bitchery happening at a boarding school/organization for some kind of art form” trope that I am a complete and total sucker for. It doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be about ballet (after all the movie “Fame” isn’t strictly about that art form and I LOVE it), but it’s just an added bonus if it is. “Center Stage” is by no means a good movie, but if I stumble upon it on the TV I am guaranteed to watch it. “Black Swan” messed me up real good and I could have taken even MORE mental anguish and paranoia from it. Because the competition of being the best within the strict and narrow world of ballet makes people do AWFUL THINGS, according to this trope, and I live for it. So of course “Tiny Pretty Things” was going to appeal to me. The fact that it has an underlying mystery is really just a bonus, I would have picked it up regardless. But “Tiny Pretty Things” also surprised me in a lot of pleasant ways. In a book that could have easily been about a bunch of spoiled and rich white girls (as the ballet world and culture is disproportionately white), authors Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton instead represented a rather diverse cast of characters, and the struggles they all face trying to fit into the ballet box. And they do this seamlessly, weaving these everyday moments of frustration or microaggressions against them into the bigger picture, so their struggles are just a natural, and yet exposed, part of their day to day realities. And there are a LOT of themes here, and since I want to break them all down, we’re going to have a lot to talk about.

One of the themes this book talks about is discrimination in the ballet world, both racial and sexual orientation. Gigi, being the only black student at the school, is always being put in the ‘Other’ role by those around her, be it fellow dancers or even the administrators. Her talents and merits are always being picked apart by those around her, and there is always a question of how much she deserves the roles that she’s getting. June, too, isn’t immune to such treatment, even if it’s to a different extent. Her biracial ethnicity has left her without a group, and since she has never known who her father is she is feeling even more like she has never known her true identity. And while they aren’t given many perspective moments, it’s mentioned that there are a number of the Korean dancers at this school who are absolutely fantastic at dance… but never get lead roles, and rarely get solos, because they just don’t ‘fit’ the part. Not only are racial biases spoken of, but so are those of sexuality and the idea of masculine and feminine ideals. There are two GLBT characters in this book, and while neither of them have perspective chapters, you do get to learn a bit about them through the other girls eyes. William is gay, and is definitely one of the best male dancers at the school. But again, because he doesn’t meet the physical (and yes, sexual preference) ideal of how a male ballerina should be, he too is denied lead roles. And Sei-Jin, June’s enemy, is a closeted lesbian. She torments June but is also terrified that June will tell the world that she’s a lesbian, therein ruining her chances, in her mind, at stardom. I really appreciated that this was touched on in this book when it easily could have just been ignored.

Along with discrimination there is the obsession with perfection and how far you go to achieve it. Be it the eating disorders that June and another girl named Liz are living with, or the Adderall addiction that Bette has, the competition runs all of these girls completely ragged. And this is why even Bette, mean awful HORRIBLE Bette, is a character that I can’t completely hate. She is certainly entitled and spoiled and bordering on psychopathic, but it is because this is all she has been raised to know, even since she was a little girl. She has seen her perfect older sister rise into prominency in the ballet world, and now their emotionally abusive and alcoholic mother wants both of her daughters to be stars. So Bette, who has been raised to be a star, is driven to the extremes beyond her Adderall addiction to achieve this perfection, and starts to spiral into madness when it just can’t quite be achieved. I really liked that this story addresses the fact that these CHILDREN are being completely put through the ringer, and that most of them aren’t going to make it in the ways that they are being pushed to do so.

Which leads us into the mystery of this book (as yes, there is indeed a mystery). Since Gigi is new and black and doing phenomenally well, someone starts harassing her and tormenting her. And while it very well could be Bette (and some of it is Bette because she’s the worst), some of these pranks and taunts are downright violent. While I may have a pretty good idea as to who it is (this is the first in a duology, so it hasn’t been revealed yet), I’m not quite certain. And I love the fact that I’m not quite certain! There are other little mysteries in this book that are a bit more obvious(such as the identity of June’s father, which I won’t spoil here, but it’s really not too hard to figure out), and while that’s fine, the mystery in itself is pretty run of the mill. The joy and power of this book isn’t in the mystery, though there are lots of pretty amazingly over the top moments of drama that surround it. The joy is definitely in the complex issues that Charaipotra and Clayton put in here, as well as, yes, the juicy juicy drama. Whenever a book about ballerinas ends up with one of said ballerinas getting glass shards left in her ballet shoes, you KNOW that I’m going to be a total sucker for it.

I really really enjoyed “Tiny Pretty Things” and will certainly be picking up “Shiny Broken Pieces” as soon as possible. It’s definitely soapy and dramatic, but it uses this premise to talk about other, very relevant problems within the ballet culture. So it’s a double win for me. Definitely pick it up if you want something fun, light, but thoughtful. ( )
  thelibraryladies | Mar 29, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sona Charaipotraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clayton, Dhoniellemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Navdeep, for all the things you did, and continue to do, to help make all our magic (and mayhem) possible
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It always feels like death.
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Three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet academy compete for the status of prima ballerina, with each willing to sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

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