Book Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

As a dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is living her childhood dream. She gets to be up on stage in front of adoring crowds every night. And while she might not be a prima ballerina yet, she’s moving up the ranks and surely if she works hard enough she can make it happen. 

But devoting her whole life to ballet leaves very little time for anything else: friends, family, school have all fallen by the wayside. Hannah doesn’t mind, until a chance encounter in a restaurant brings Jacob into her life. He’s cute, he plays guitar and he’s offering a whole future that Hannah never considered. And now she must choose between her lifelong dream or what could be the love of her life...(from

When Bunheads appeared on my reading radar there was very little doubt I was going to read it. I LOVE ballet stories, I have ever since I was a little girl. I took ballet lessons as a child, dreamt of being ballerina and even had a part as a mouse in a swish production of The Nutcracker aged 8 (I know! get me 😀 ). Sadly nature wasn’t on my side and I definitely do not have a ballet dancers body! Or, to be fair, the dedication. But I do still like a good Ballet story.

And Bunheads IS a good Ballet story. Oh, how I was transported into the gruelling, competitive and slightly mystical world of The Manhattan Ballet company while reading this book. Sophie Flack vividly brings a world, in which very few have access, to spectacular life. I could almost feel the pain and adrenaline of each performance.

I really enjoyed Hannah as a character and her conflict between her dedication to the ballet and blossoming romance with Jacob. What surprised me was how mature this book actually was. Hannah is 19, and is written like a believable, if somewhat naive, 19 year old, and I think Bunheads would be enjoyed by people who don’t usually consider books from the YA section as well as teens themselves. Hannah’s naivety comes from her sheltered and reclusive life as part of the demanding ballet company and drives home the commitment these dancers make. I know it’s not something I could ever do! Jacob is gorgeous romantic interest; sensitive, creative, patient and Hannah couldn’t have wished for a better first love. I did wish she’d treat him kinder at times and got a little bit frustrated on his behalf when Ballet came before him time and time again, but then I’m not the most dedicated person, so understanding Hannah’s focus was fascinating.

If like me you grew up dreaming of being a Ballerina, you’ll love Bunheads. I’d say an interest in dance would make this book more enjoyable as it is a HUGE feature, but you can also appreciate it as a lovely romance and coming of age story too. Recommended.

Published by Atom (UK) March 2012
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

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