Various Positions by Martha Schabas – REVIEW

Various Positions by Martha Schabas
Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 336 Pages
Sub-genre: Contemporary
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age Group: ADULT, and not the “Young Adult” that is organized under in the bookstore

Trapped between the hormone-driven world of her friends and the discontent of her dysfunctional family, fourteen-year-old Georgia is only completely at ease when she’s dancing. When she is accepted into Canada’s preeminent ballet school, Georgia thinks it is the perfect escape. Artistic Director Roderick Allen singles her out as a star, subjecting her to increasingly intensive training, and Georgia obsesses about becoming the perfect, disciplined student. But as she spends more and more time with Roderick, it’s not so clear exactly what their relationship means. Is he her teacher and mentor, or is there something more? These blurred lines will threaten both Roderick’s future at the academy and Georgia’s ambitions as a ballerina.

Since the beginning of time (okay, so maybe not that long), there has been a great debate of “What is YA?”. I mean, really? What makes a YA book different from a Middle Grade book and a different from an Adult book? I feel like most people would automatically assume it would be the age of the protagonist. If he/she is between 12-18 (the target audience), then the book is YA. HOWEVER, I would consider Sophie Flack’s Bunheads to be YA and her main character is 19. The main character in Various Positions is 14 years old, a ninth grader, and this book is NOT YA .

The synopsis says that the main character, Georgia, is a ballerina and that the only time she truly feels alive is when she’s dancing. She’s accepted into a prestigous ballet school and then begins to have a crush on her (much older) ballet instructor.

This book is masquerading as a YA book just as much as it’s masquerading as a ballet book. The content is neither YA nor does it have anything to do with ballet. Other than the fact that Georgia attends class, where she not-so-YA-ly has SEXUAL (not cutesy crush) thoughts about her 40 year old instructor, ballet is hardly ever mentioned.

Various Positions is an adult book. I don’t think a 14 year old girl watching porn in her bedroom and then taking naked photos of herself (while trying to make “seductive faces” to imitate the porn stars) is the type of book I would consider YA. (view spoiler) But, maybe I’m crazy.

Also, can I just say, especially in today’s society where teen stars are getting younger and younger, that the words 14 year old and sexy should never go together. 14 year olds are CHILDREN, they are sweet and cute and NOT sexy, ever.

If you’re looking for an intelligent, funny, fresh contemporary YA book about ballet I HIGHLY recommend Bunheads by Sophie Flack.

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