Random House Books for Young Readers
January 19, 2016
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A refreshingly original contemporary YA, unlike anything readers have seen before. Perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, John Corey Whaley, and Libba Bray.
She had a plan. It went south.
Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
If you saw my Instagram post last month you know that Jennifer Longo's Up to This Pointe grabbed my attention from the very beginning. (It was about the abundant availability of condoms in Antarctica, after all.) What you may not know is that after that, it never let go.
Up to This Pointe alternates between Harper's life in San Francisco and her time in Antarctica. It was so easy to become so completely immersed in the time of her life, the location and events you were reading about that without really thinking about it, you could forget about that other life, locale, circumstances. When you're with Harper, the ballerina, in San Francisco as she strives to achieve The Plan, you are fully invested in what is happening now to Harper. You feel her hope, her desire to become a professional ballet dancer.
Sure, if you really tried to think about it, you'd know something's not going to go according to The Plan - otherwise, she wouldn't have gone to Antarctica, right? It doesn't matter, though. Harper knows she's going to become a professional ballerina, so you know it.
When you do join Harper in Antarctica, it is its own kind of captivating and you want to find out what exactly happened that led to her self-imposed exile. You also kind of don't want to leave. There are penguins and Irish boys and grump co-assistants and this new-ish Harper.
Jennifer Longo gives us Harper, at two quite different points in her life, and they are both just as well done as the other. She is a character who makes some choices readers may not like, but you can always tell why she's making them. You just have to hope it will all work out in the end.
Something I loved both about Jennifer Longo's Six Feet Over It and Up to This Pointe was the diversity of characters - and who they, how they're a part of the story.We don't just get a passing mention of whatever it is about them that checks some diversity requirement, nor is their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc all that they are or overdone. All of the characters are well written, full developed, real characters. No one is your 'token' anything and I love them all.
review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher