Review: Pointe

pointeTheo Cartwright is a dancer. She lives for ballet, and she is a star pupil in her dance classes. She has a strong chance for a future in dance. If she can stay focused.

There is a lot that threatens Theo’s focus on dance. She has struggled with an eating disorder and there’s a potential romance with a not-totally appropriate guy, but the most dramatic circumstance in Theo’s world is the return of her childhood best friend Donovan who had been kidnapped several years before.

Theo was the last person to see Donovan before he disappeared, and his return takes her by surprise. Her first person narration gives readers a not-quite-reliable view of the situation as the details of Donovan’s kidnapping are revealed. It turns out Theo has a connection to the kidnapper. The man she knew as her ex-boyfriend Trent turns out to be much older and much more sinister than she realized at the time. As Theo recalls her relationship with Donovan’s kidnapper, she slowly comes to realize that what she thought was love was actually abuse. When she is called to testify at the trial, Theo has to decide if she will reveal her relationship with the kidnapper.

This is a tough topic, to be sure, and the sexual content and mentions of drug use make this book one for mature teen readers. But readers looking for an emotional and gripping read about a strong African-American character will find a complex story here that will leave them with a lot to think about. Hand it to older teens who appreciate issue-driven stories with serious moral questions at their center.

The book concludes with a note encouraging teens who are dealing with any of the topics discussed in the book to seek help. There is contact information for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), the National Center for PTSD, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children included. Debut novelist, Brandy Colbert, takes on a lot in this novel, and she does so with skill. She is certainly an author to watch.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert. 2014. 9780399160349. Gr. 9-12

 

mindyF Blogger: Mindy R.