Release Date: May 26, 2015
Source: Edelweiss / Harper Collins
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Tiny Pretty Things is pegged as “Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars” – that combination alone has me hooked onto this story. Coming from an extensive dance background, I think reading about dance is almost as fun as dancing itself. Personally though, I have not reached that competitive, cut-throat ballet academy level, but it’s interesting to read about nonetheless. I had high hopes for this thriller set at a ballet academy, but Tiny Pretty Things falls short in terms of the thriller aspect and characterization.
The thing about having a story that is told from more than two perspectives is that the reader finds it harder to grasp and connect to the characters. Tiny Pretty Things is told from the perspective of three girls: June, Bette, and Gigi. The main premise of the story is that Gigi, an African American newcomer at the academy, begins to get cast for all of the lead roles, and all of the other girls are getting envious, including June and Bette, thus starting a series of attacks directed at Gigi. By having the story told from three perspectives, it takes away the element of connection. The authors create issues for each individual character, making it difficult to focus on all of them. Additionally, these multiple first person perspectives takes away from the thriller aspect. I feel that by knowing June and Bette’s motives and thoughts, thriller aspect becomes nonexistent. I was very bored because the small attacks didn’t so much as give me one goosebump. I really only like Gigi’s perspective, simply because she is kindhearted and thoughtful.
The romance is also quite unbelievable. Bette starts off in a relationship with Alec, them being the power couple at the academy. However, when Gigi gets the lead roles instead of Bette, Alec starts going out with Gigi, and thus, he becomes the love interest. This makes it very hard to believe the romance is genuine. It seems like Alec left Bette only because she is no longer the best dancer at the academy.
As far as elements of Tiny Pretty Things that I do enjoy, there isn’t much, except for diversity and the issues that the authors bring to light. First, there is diverse cast of characters at the academy: black, Korean, lesbian, gay and more. I feel that the authors explored diversity well and it doesn’t feel forced at all. The issues that are brought up are also significant: anorexia, family problems, and self-discovery. While these issues are spanned across too many characters, I’m glad they are present in the story.
The ending is kind of wrapped up, however not entirely. The reader is left to believe that there is more to come at this cut-throat ballet academy. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to the sequel (if there is one) because I was never fully invested in the mystery or characters.