Published by HarperTeen on July 12th 2016
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
June, Bette, and Gigi have given their all to dance at Manhattan’s most elite ballet school. Now they are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice.
June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. However, getting what she wants might cost her everything—including the only boy she’s ever loved. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. Even if she returns, though, will she ever regain the spotlight she craves? And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. But as revenge consumes her, Gigi may be the one who pays the price.
After years of grueling auditions, torn ribbons, and broken hearts, it all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?
~ When I read Tiny Pretty Things, I called it a “Mean Girls/Gossip Girls/Center Stage/Fame mash up”, which I loved. Book two does not disappoint.
~ I know in the last book that Gigi was meant to be the fan favorite, but I thought, and still think, that June and Bette’s stories and voices are more compelling. In this book Gigi was all over the place. But I guess the over the top actions of Gigi and Cassie made June and Bette seem more redeemable.
~ At the start of the book, Bette’s on suspension from the dance school, and everyone still assumes she shoved Gigi in front of a car. But Bette, in typical Bette fashion, has no intention of the suspension lasting. She’s working hard to keep training with a tutor and realizes her only way back into school is to prove her innocence.
~ My favorite part of the book was June’s story. Her character really started to come into her own in this book. Now that she knows who her father is, she has to deal with that knowledge and how it makes her relate (hahaha) to other characters in the book. Plus, she’s still dealing with friend turned enemy Sei-Jin, her boyfriend Jayhe and his expectations, her mother, her future as a dancer or a college student, and her eating disorder. And, like all the characters, she has to own up to her previous bad behavior. Even worse than all that, she has to room with Cassie.
~ Gigi is dealing with the aftermath of her accident (how is she not in therapy from all the extreme bullying and ptsd?), still dating Alec, and determined not to be a doormat anymore. Plus she has Cassie befriending her and egging her on. Gigi kind of loses her mind a bit in this book. Which in some ways I liked, because her character felt a bit too Pollyanna last book, and I get that she’s still traumatized and angry over being bullied (or terrorized- some of the stuff that happened to her was waaaaay beyond bullying). And Alec doesn’t help any, since he still has contact with Bette. Although I thought Gigi was super whacko through most of the book, I fully supported her on the issue of being pissed that Alec would still be messaging his former girlfriend, whom Gigi thinks pushed her in front of a car. I don’t care how long Alec has known Bette, I would not put up with that shiz.
~ Bette, still trying to measure up to big sister Adele, is more fun in this book. I like bitchy Bette, I can’t help it. She’s definitely more self-aware in this book, and she’s trying to be a better person, but she still thinks she rules the world. I really liked Bette going all digital Nancy Drew, and her attempts at being a better friend to Eleanor. I like that Bette is apologetically is all about herself 99% of the time. Even when she kind of gets what’s coming to her, I still found myself rooting for her. It also helps that Bette is has some crazy shiz happening to her too.
~ So, things that didn’t work for me: Gigi’s over the top turn around. If she had started wearing leather tights and tutu’s and chain smoking, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Alec dissing his girlfriend (although, I’m torn about this, because I like his complicated relationship with Bette, and because Gigi was annoying, I didn’t mind this as much as I should have). Henri, mostly because he kind of disappears into the shadows in this book, I guess to make way for Cassie, and even though his involvement in Will’s life is exposed, nothing negative happens to Henri. Very annoying.
~ Things that worked for me: Gigi facing racism. She’s always had to deal with it since she’s the only African American dancer at the school, but the scene where she had to deal with racist Madam Matvienko had me seething. It’s not that I liked the scene, but I thought it serves as a reminder that our world is far from racial equality. I liked June’s struggle with food- I felt like it didn’t make light of it, and showed the real world consequences of bulimia and anorexia. In the past book I didn’t really care for Adele, but I loved her relationship with Bette in this book.
~ Overall, I once again devoured this book. I will totally read a third book (please let there be a third book).
Gigi- still an amazing dancer, she’s dealing with the trauma of her accident and all the bullying she endured last year.
Bette- the golden girl has fallen a long way, but this girl is made to claw her way to the top.
June- the quiet observer who collects everyone’s secrets, and is sitting on a few of her own. (This is how I described her in the last review, and I liked it)
Cassie- Alec’s cousin, picking up right where she left off, dancewise. She’s out for revenge, and not above corrupting Gigi.
Alec- Bette’s ex, Gigi’s boyfriend, the object of at least 60% of the crushes at the academy. I found him annoying, except in his scenes with Bette… which is messed up of me.
Henri- still French, still sinister, still dating Cassie.
Will- once Alex and Bette’s friend, and once Gigi’s bestie, this book he’s rarely seen, but he has a big moment.
Sei-Jin- June’s former roommate and tormentor. She’s also Jayhe’s ex. I have to admit, I liked the role she played this book (last book if she’d been on fire I wouldn’t have spit on her).
Eleanor- Bette’s former roommate and henchgirl, this year she has a lot going on that has nothing to do with Bette or dance.
Adele- Bette’s lovely, talented and successful older sister- she’s everything Bette longs to be.
Jayhe- boyfriend to June, college bound and pressuring June to go to college too.
Taylor- works with June, loved her character although it’s a small role.
There were several moments- but Bette’s detective work and pay out was huge. I also really liked the scenes later in the book between June and Sei-Jin and June and Taylor. Also, Adele. Just wow.
Stop the Clock:
Shiny Broken Pieces is a fun, wicked read, just like Tiny Pretty Things. It shows the underside of the dance world and the competitiveness and the drive and the drama. Even the parts that annoyed me kept me reading. I really liked it!
Shiny Broken Pieces gets a Midnight Book rating of: