Audition – Stasia Ward Kehoe

I stumbled across this book completely by accident, while I was testing our eBook service on one of the library’s tablets. I needed to download a title to make sure it worked, and this was the first thing I came across. It intrigued me, however, so I kept it checked out to my account, and read it later.

This is a novel in verse. I have read a couple of these, but not many, so I wanted to read this story in an effort to expand my horizons a bit and experience something new.

Audition tells the tale of a high schooler’s year at a professional ballet studio. Sara moves away from home when she is accepted to a prestigious dance school, and she attends an academy school while spending most of her time dancing. She meets new people, but doesn’t ever really make any friends, and falls into a mostly sex-based relationship with an older choreographer at the school.
The language of the book was pretty, with some wonderfully poetic language. I was honestly surprised at how complete the story seemed…despite the fact that there weren’t many words in this tale, I didn’t feel like I was only getting part of the story. You know, obviously, that you only get snippets of conversations and that you miss out on some of the daily interactions of Sara and her peers, but you’re bound to get that with any story, really, so it didn’t detract from the tale. In fact, I found it fascinating to wonder at how far you could cut down other stories, while keeping the action, characters, and tone intact. It’d be a fun venture!
What I didn’t like about this story was, sadly, the story. I didn’t connect with Sara at all. She seemed like a very weak character…constantly obsessing about what others wanted from her, never having an identity of her own, and always seeming to hate everything. Nerves and uncertainty were understandable, but Sara never appeared to enjoy ballet at all, except for whenever someone suggested she try something else…and then she only seemed to kind of “like” ballet in defiance, because she didn’t want to like anything else. I appreciated that the author never, I think, tried to portray Sara as a very strong-willed character…her place is not the head of the ballet class, and the character herself understands that. But I really didn’t like the romance (she was sixteen, he was twenty-two, and he only used her for her body, something she was pretty much always aware of), and I would have enjoyed some genuine excitement about anything from her every once in a while.
Nevertheless, this was an interesting read, and I think the verse format worked well for a story so heavily focused on dancing. Certainly not my usual fare, and I definitely still prefer books written in full sentences and complete chapters, but I’m glad I experienced this!


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