Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it.
After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for.
But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?
Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and author Mariko Turk for allowing me to be on this wonderful book tour for The Other Side of Perfect. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I loved so many things about this book. I loved Alina and how her emotions were presented. I loved how Turk presented the dilemma of having your passion ripped away from you. And I loved Alina’s journey as a whole and the changes that we see her go through. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have any of my passions ripped from me and Alina’s reaction to it is not a pleasant one, but a very real one. We get to see the ugly side of not being able to pursue your dreams. We see the hurt, the disappointment, and the jealousy. Sure, it is always nice to be immediately positive when something tragic like this happens, however, the more realistic emotions are the ones that are not good to feel. Turk does an excellent job at conveying these emotions to her readers.
Alina’s journey as a whole was not an easy one. One day she is doing what she loves and persevering through the hardships that her passion presents her and then the next she told she will never be the same dancer as she was before. The steps that our MC takes after this to figure out who she is without her passion is not lock-step at all. She is truly put through the ringer physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is definitely one of my most raw reads of this year. I look forward to seeing what Turk has in store for us with her future writing.
Meet the Author
Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder.
She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.
Check out my other blog posts here!
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