Saturday, December 6, 2014

ARC Review: 84 Ribbons

84 Ribbons by Paddy Eger

Publisher: Tendrill Press, 2013
242 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult
Link: Goodreads

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A young dancer's realizes her life long dream, if only for a while.

Seventeen year old Marta Selbryth realizes her dream of becoming a professional dancer when the Intermountain Ballet Company in Billings, Montana invites her to join their 1957 season. As Marta's new life unfolds, she must learn to face not only the successes of dancing in the corps de ballet, but the challenges and setbacks that might crush the dream she's had for so long.

After a couple of mishaps, Marta settles into life in a boarding house located near the ballet company. Her landlady, Mrs. B., is friendly, reduces her rent when Marta's offers to bake for the boarders and later allows her to use the basement as a practice studio. The two male boarders are supportive; Carol, a fellow boarder, ignores her.

Marta spends her free time practicing when she's not spending time with her new friends Lynne and Bartley, her fellow corps dancers. Their time together becomes an important lifeline through their first year.

Madame Cosper, the artistic director, is a demanding woman. Marta begins their association poorly when she makes a disastrous choice. Expecting expulsion, Marta receives a second chance in the form of dancing the unpopular character roles during the fall and winter performances. Marta determines to dance every role with confidence in hopes of proving to Madame that she's up for every challenge.

Steve, a young college man and a reporter, spots Marta when he's assigned to write an article about ballet for the local paper. He's attracted to her and begins his pursuit. Over the months ahead, he becomes her tour guide of the area and attempts to convince Marta to be his girl. But her steadfast focus is ballet and some of her adventures with him lead to problems with Madame Cosper.

Shortly after Christmas, everything changes for Marta, Bartley and Steve. Significant events permanently influence their lives. Each must deal with exhilaration and heartbreak as well as frustration and changes that test their ability to cope.

My Review:
84 Ribbons is a coming of age story set in the 50s Midwest setting. Pretty much aimed at a young adult audience, this author takes you on a journey of trial errors as a young girl Marta, she receives an opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a professional ballerina. We watch this 17 year old girl become independent and turns into a grown women, the difficulties and loss of innocence that she encounters can touch every reader. The author has done a fantastic job of pulling in the emotional aspects of growing up and how difficult it can be or was for every adult.

I was surprised with the storyline as Marta encountered serious obstacles that were very believable, instead of just a sweet story with no real issues being dealt with. But however the author’s writing style occasionally got lost in too much description and depth in places that I didn’t find necessary.

But overall I thought that 84 Ribbons was very well put together and will pretty much please ay young adult who is wondering what it is like to grow up. I think that the descriptions of the ballet world were very in depth and accurate so I think that this will be a pleasant aspect of the book that will the dancing audience. There is too many coming of age stories out there where the main characters are very whiny but this story the main character is very likeable and like I mentioned it before, deals wih very serious problems that many others were facing at the time as well.

My Rating:

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