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Pointe
2014
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  Publishers Weekly Review

Theo Cartwright, from one of the few black families in a predominantly white Chicago suburb, lives for ballet, and she's destined for stardom on stage. When her childhood best friend Donovan-who disappeared four years earlier at age 13-resurfaces, Theo's life is upended. Debut novelist Colbert has written an extraordinary book about dance, seamlessly intertwined with the chilling aftermath of a kidnapping. In honest, confident prose, Colbert builds characters whose flaws, struggles, and bad decisions make them real and indelibly memorable. Theo may be a gifted and driven dancer, but she's also still a 17-year-old who can shut down a smug classmate with an acid remark, drinks and smokes with her friends, became sexually involved with an older guy at 13 (and never really thought of it as rape), is keeping an eating disorder in check, and carries heavy secrets about her connection to Donovan's disappearance. Colbert gives all her characters similar depth (including the pianist/school drug dealer Theo is drawn to, even though he has a girlfriend), and it's this complexity and empathy that set this gripping story apart. Ages 14-up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Apr.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Theo, 17, is determined to become one of the few African American professional ballet dancers. While she's preparing for a high-stakes audition, flirting with a new crush (a talented pianist who also happens to be the local pot dealer), and recovering from a bout of anorexia, she learns that her best friend, Donovan, who went missing four years earlier, has suddenly returned. Donovan's kidnapper was Theo's former boyfriend, an adult who lied about his age to the then-13-year-old dancer. Theo thought what she and Trent (aka Chris) had was love, but she gradually realizes that it was actually something more sinister. Debut author Colbert bravely chooses realistic, if not necessarily happy resolutions to some subplots: Theo's decision to testify against Chris forces her to put her ballet career on hold, and what looks like a promising new romance turns unexpectedly sour. However, the abundance of high-interest motifs and devices (an unreliable narrator, statutory rape, kidnapping, eating disorders, and hints of the elite world of ballet) sometimes overloads the story, and the connections among them often feel forced. Libraries where All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry (Viking, 2013), Bunheads by Sophie Flack (Little, Brown, 2011), and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking, 2009) are popular will want to consider this title, as will those seeking to enhance their collection of books by and about strong African American women.-Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
Theo is better now.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.
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