You know how everyone says that junior year is the hardest one in high school? That’s more true for Theo from Pointe, by Brandy Colbert, than it is for any person I’ve ever met or any character I’ve ever read. This book initially intrigued me based on two recommendations and the premise of an African American elite ballet student. However, there is a lot more going on in this book than just that.
Theo feels like she’s finally got her life back on track. She’s eating … most of the time. She’s dating guys who might not be appropriate, but who are at least her age. She’s got two supportive best friends, maintains a good relationship with her parents, and is well on her way to becoming an elite ballerina. But all of this is changes when oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after being kidnapped four years ago. He isn’t talking about what happened. He isn’t talking at all. But Theo recognizes the kidnapper, and will have to decide if coming forth with the truth is worth risking everything she’s worked for.
I’ve seen positive reviews of this book and negative reviews of this book, and somehow agreed with both. I read this book in two days, because I had to find out how it ended. But I’m not sure I enjoyed the experience. It was well written, but maybe a little (or a lot) too gritty and dark for me.
I really liked that Theo was an African American main character, who’s race wasn’t ignored but also wasn’t the focal point of the whole novel. At the same time Theo had so much going on, that some of the issues dealt with in this book felt glossed over. The book started at a high emotional register, and stayed there for the entire story. This is what kept me reading, but usually I prefer a bit more of an arc.
Still, I think there are a lot of people who will enjoy Pointe. Especially readers who, like me, are trying to diversify their reading habits and want to get their hands on a uniquely told story.