Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo combines two elements I love most in YA–sports and travel. Following a dancer who goes to Antarctica after her plan doesn’t work out, this is a touching story with a strong main character. I especially enjoyed the writing style, and the way the dual timelines are linked is clever. I would definitely recommend this one, especially to those who, like myself, are looking for a book with a unique setting.Title: Up to This Pointe
Author: Jennifer Longo
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Harper Scott is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. But while Kate is a naturally gifted dancer, Harper has had to fight for every step. And now it’s make-it-or-break-it time: if their auditions go wrong, their dreams are over. Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in her way, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper may not be a natural, but she is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the daring 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 also 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.
Review: Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo
Harper Scott has a plan: graduating high school early, then auditioning to the San Francisco School of Ballet with her best friend, who she will share an apartment with as she lives her life as a ballerina. However, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Now, having escaped her problems by travelling to Antarctica, Harper is forced to re-evaluate her life and find where she belongs. I’m a sucker for any book about sports as well as any book about travel, and this one delivers on both. I have never read a book set in Antarctica before, so I was excited to explore this setting along with Harper. Ultimately, this is a heartfelt and empowering story about what happens when everything you live for slowly falls out of the picture.
❀ Easy to Root for Main Character
As a main character, Harper is easy to root for. Her passion for dance is visible on each page, and it is heartbreaking when her carefully constructed plan starts to fall apart. She has sacrificed so much for dance, and I really sympathized with her as she deals with the grief of the loss of her dream. Harper has a beautiful growth throughout the story as she starts to find herself again, and I loved reading about the friendships she develops at the research station in Antarctica.
❀ Vivid Descriptions
This book is also expertly crafted, and it is filled with vivid descriptions. The Antarctica setting in particular is impressively portrayed, and I can tell that a great amount of research went into the story. Longo does an excellent job capturing the atmosphere of the research station, and I could easily picture myself there. What really stood out to me, though, is the dual timelines. the book alternates between the past in San Francisco and the present in Antarctica smoothly. At first, I wasn’t sure how both the world of dance and Antarctica would fit together, but I was impressed by the way they are linked thematically by survival.
❀ A Moving Story
Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo is a moving story about finding yourself after losing your dream. I enjoyed the unique setting, and the main character undergoes an inspiring transformation. The book is also well-written, and I loved the way both timelines fit together. Those looking for a raw and empowering contemporary will enjoy this one.