Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Unlovely + Giveaway

Title: Unlovely
Author: Celeste Conway
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 2, 2015
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

If he falls for a beautiful dancer, does he risk his heart? Or his life?

• Unlovely is narrated in dark mystery wrapped around a world teens love, that of dancers and dancing.

• Bewitching writing, an eerie story, and a here-and-now thriller, combine for a captivating read of love, loyalty, and dark revenge

• Celeste Conway's book The Melting Season was featured by the New York Public Library as among 2006's best teen reads. She also has written two middle-grade novels and teaches writing at Berkley College

"A perfect combination of romance and horror with (dare I say this?) some culture thrown in." --Lois Duncan, author of Stranger with My Face and Locked in Time

Accidents happen. But they happen more often when the beautiful ballet dancers return each summer to the island. When he hears the ruthless way that the loveliest dancer talks about boys getting what they deserve when they break girls' hearts, Harley, home for the summer after his first year of college, wonders if he's losing his mind. He knows for sure that he's losing his heart to this girl...But then, strange incidents start happening all over the island and Harley is caught between desire and fear: could he also be in danger of losing his life?

Unlovely was an interesting read about a relationship between two young people for very different circumstances. Our narrator Harley is from the small town the book is set in. He is back from his first year of college and he and his father actually live on a boat instead of a proper house. Cassandra is a ballerina from New York who is going to the summer ballet school in Harley's town. There's a major rift between the town and the school, no neither Harley nor Cassandra's friends are supportive of the relationship. And I can't forget to mention Mairin, Harley's childhood friend and girl the whole town assumed he would marry, who is now engaged to a biggest loser in town and pregnant with his baby.

The most interesting part of the story for me was the relationship between the townies and the ballet school. There was a lot of prejudice on both sides, especially following the death of one of the town's high school students at the school. The death had been deemed a suicide, but many people in the town believed there was more going on. On the other hand, the people at the school were very standoff and aloof towards their neighbours, acting like they were better than them.

The other part that interested me the most was the relationship between Harley and Mairin. Harley tried to convince Mairin to go away to school together, but Mairin's mother was not supportive of the idea. So while Harley left, Mairin stayed in the town and took up with the biggest loser she could find, Smits, and got pregnant. It's very clear through the book that Mairin and Harley both have feelings towards each other and how much better off they'd be with each other. But Harley is enamored with Cassandra and Mairin is stubborn to make things work with Smits and it was tough for me, since it was so clear they should be together.

One thing I wish there had a bit stronger was the dark aspect of the story. It's there and it's great in the end, but I just felt the end was a bit rushed. I liked the dizzying quality of some of the scenes and wish they had been extended or there had been more of them.

The other thing that bothered me was how fast Harley and Cassandra's relationship went. They hardly got to see each other, since Cassandra was so busy at school, yet they said I love you within a few weeks of meeting each other.

Overall, Unlovely was an interesting read about a very messed up ballet school and the town it is near but certainly not a part of. It's the story of the dangerous path Harley takes to ultimately find his destiny again.

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Merit Press was kind enough to agree to giveaway a copy of Unlovely to one lucky reader (US only - sorry). Enter below!

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  1. This sounds really interesting and I think I would like the two "different" sides of town aspect as well.

  2. This book looks awesome! I was a pre-professional dancer with three different dance companies, so book is right up my ally!