Tomorrow, TINY PRETTY THINGS (a.k.a., the best YA novel of the year) will be released and available for your (and your teen daughter’s, and your teen daughter’s best friend’s) consumption. And trust me, you (and your teen daughter and your teen daughter’s best friend) will want to scoop this one up and devour it immediately. This “Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars” debut by our very own Sona Charaipotra and her friend and writing partner Dhonielle Clayton offers three alternating narratives of teen girls at a prestigious ballet academy— and the lengths they’ll go to be the very best.
I read it in two nights (despite the fact that I was 8 months pregnant and usually couldn’t keep my eyes open when my head hit the pillow. This book kept me up). Here are the four things I loved most about it:
1. The voice. Forgot what it’s like to be a teenager? They didn’t. Sona and Dhonielle somehow effortlessly capture the insecurities, emotions and first love feelings of their characters, as if they were still teenagers themselves.
2. The diversity. Professional ballet has historically been a mostly-white endeavor. But the cast of TINY PRETTY THINGS is anything but— and the challenges the girls face and the feelings they feel about race are all very deep and real. The race issues never feel contrived, and it’s refreshing to see other ethnic backgrounds represented, especially in YA lit. (See #weneeddiversebooks.)
3. The moral ambiguity. It’s easy when you’re writing books to fall into a good vs. evil trope — but in the drama-filled, cutthroat world of TINY PRETTY THINGS, it’s not always clear who the “good” girls are. Every character has their flaws, their dark thoughts— and their dark deeds. It keeps you guessing — and turning the pages.
4. The ending. Let’s just say it leaves you wanting more. Fortunately Sona and Dhonielle are finishing up edits to their sequel now— and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.