Scarlett Stirling is hardworking and fiercely ambitious. She loves the blisters and the strict regime of her dance classes at the National Academy of Performing Arts. Her life is measured and balanced. Perfect.
But when Scarlett meets charismatic musician Moss, she enters another world – a world without restrictions – and is swept up in a heady whirlwind of sex, drugs and celebrity. Spread thin between her commitments and her desire to be with Moss, Scarlett pushes herself to the limit, unaware she’s playing a dark game.
Silhouette is not just another dance book.
This gritty young adult novel follows the strong and determined Scarlett as she navigates her way from the safe, structured Academy into the adult world of commercial dance.
Thalia Kalkipsakis (Go Girl, Girlfriend Fiction) explores a cut-throat industry, where talent and ambition are paramount, and one mis-step can cost you everything.
I’m not sure how to start this, as although I had a lot of problems with the book it kept pulling me along, until I finished it late last night and then couldn’t sleep as I kept thinking about it.
I laughed to myself when I read, “Silhouette is not just another dance book.” I think it’s important for that to be there, as there seem to be a flux of dance books in YA recently.
There was something different about this, though. Something that you couldn’t quite put your finger on, and somethings only really clicked once you finished.
I love how Silhouette seemed to capture so many things: dancing, growing up, secrets, friendships, relationships.
I wanted to shake Scarlett, ask her how she could be so silly and short-sighted. But it was a good kind of wanting to shake her; a wanting that came out of a well-written, true-to-life book.
The desperation and wanting came through easily, and I had to laugh at the end because what Scarlett did was just so me, and something I would have done. Never let an opportunity go to waste, I say!!
I’m finding it hard to comment as I have swirling thoughts about all the characters and what happens to them.
I thought Kalkipsakis did a great job with the supporting cast; none felt forced or one-dimensional. The prose, while not overtly clever or beautiful, was easy to read and nothing felt out of place.
I liked how it happened slowly, subtly, everything seemed to happen even though Scarlett seemed to be hurteling towards it at lightening fast pace.
This coming from someone not in the dancing world in the slightest, but I felt Silhouette was a fantastic and fascinating realistic portrayal of the dancing world – and, something I feel is important and necessary, the safe haven of an Academy just before they are thrust into the real world – of which Scarlett gets an early taste.
I feel a review would be amiss without talking about Moss, her love interest. Sometimes I wanted to hit him and other times I wanted to read on, and for some reason in my head I kept picturing him as Gotye (not a good thing as I hate Gotye).
I felt that the *love* scenes between them were handled really well, and I also liked the group scenes. I felt they didn’t get over-crowded as they might have done, and Kalkipsakis handled the fine balance between having a group around but not confusing the reader.
I also thought the ending played out just how it would in real life: the authority figures not backing down, the comrade of her classmates, taking a chance.
I thought there were several instances where we were presented with a question – something that could have been, in my opinion, dragged out for pages if not a few chapters to keep the reader guessing. In two specific examples I can re-call, the questions were answered literally in the following paragraph and following page.
This left me feeling a bit flat, as I didn’t have time myself to think about the situations, mull over them, consider what I thought was going to happen and watch Scarlett sweat over them for a while. Instead, we got the answer straight-away.
I also didn’t realize the direct relationship of the front cover to the book content until I’d finished it and I think it makes it all the more perfect. It’s already a beautiful cover, and I love it when the covers are all the more relevant and important to the text.
It’s out now.
For more information,
Hardie Grant Egmont