For the Month of February, there will be one book featured a week. It is a month celebrating Black Authors and the characters they write. – A. A. Omer
Author: Brandy Colbert.
Publisher: Penguin. Imprint: Putnam. Date Published: April 10th 2014. Format: Paperback/Advanced Reader’s Copy. Source: From the publisher for an honest review. The Writing Score: 5 out of 5. Rating: 5 out of 5.
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.
The last time I cried while reading a book was during The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for my Grade 11 English class. Sobbed is a more accurate term since there’s only been two books in my lifetime that really got me going. The second was Pointe by Brandy Colbert.
I don’t often have the pleasure of reading a Young Adult book that has a lead black character who’s identity as a black individual is woven seamlessly into the story. The subtly taken to remind readers of her race with a comment here about the lack of black ballerina’s in the ballet world or a comment there about being the spokesperson for the entire black experience during the civil war unit at a predominately white school. I say remind because, despite being told that the character occupies darker skin, we’re just reading a story about one girl and her experience.
Theo is probably one of the bravest characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading. She wants things. More specifically, she wants to be a professional ballerina which is a difficult thing to do if you’re not dedicated,
These are the qualities I attribute to Theo but I’d also add broken. The broken skin on her toes when she works hard. Her broken self image leading to a broken relationship with food. A young broken heart that shouldn’t have been broken so it leaves emotional scar tissue that reverberates throughout her life. It even reverberates into the lives of the people she cares about leading to the physical and emotional break of her childhood best friend, Donovan, who copes through the breakdown of communication: he becomes mute.
Some might call Theo unlikable due to her “bad” decisions but those who do should take a good long look at themselves. Likability is a non-factor in fiction. People are the basis of great fiction and Colbert has written phenomenal fiction that will hook and live within you weeks later. Ballet not only offered Theo the much needed stability and structure to her life but it did the same for the reader. It was the only sure thing throughout and it was described so eloquently that those who don’t have knowledge on the craft will feel like they do once they’re done.
Colbert has debuted a gem that I think everyone should read both adults and teens alike. It’s a story about trauma and survival but also about hope and the proverbial light at the end of a tunnel. I hope to wrap Theo and Donovan in my arms and protect them the way they deserve to be protected. I also hope that readers wrap this book in their arms when it comes out this April because it’s definitely a life changer.
A. A. Omer
The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.