Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton 

This is a novel about cutthroat, backstabbing, ambitious ballerinas! You know you want to read it!

From the blurb:

How far is too far?

At one of Manhattan’s most elite ballet schools, wafer-thin ballerinas pull their hair into sleek buns and lace their pointe shoes high, waiting for their chance to shine. But beneath the pretty, polished surface, these girls are hiding some terrible secrets and telling some twisted lies.

Privileged Bette is tiny and beautiful—like a ballerina in a music box. But living forever in the shadow of her ballet-star sister and under the weight of family expectations brings out a dangerous edge in her.

Perfectionist June can turn a flawless plié and diligently keeps her weight below 100 pounds. But she’s never landed a lead role. Tired of always being the understudy, this year she’ll settle for nothing but the best—even if she must resort to some less-than-perfect means to get there.

And new girl Gigi isn’t your traditional ballerina. A free-spirited California girl, she’s not used to the fierce competition. Still, that doesn’t stop her from outperforming every dancer in the school. But even she is hiding a ticking time bomb, and the very act of dancing just might expose her secrets to everyone.

Being a prima isn’t all satin and lace; sometimes you have to play dirty. With the competition growing fiercer with every performance, and harmless pranks growing ever darker, it’s only a matter of time before one small spark ignites . . . and even the best get burned.

This is a gripping, rather scary story about teenage girls studying at an elite ballet school in New York. The main protagonists are Bette, a legacy student whose sister is a current star at the New York Ballet company, June a half-korean girl whose mother really doesn’t want her to be a dancer, and Gigi, the new, only black, girl, who is bagging all the roles that everyone wants.

The story starts with a brutal injury, to the previous star of the conservatory, Cassie. You see the events from the alternating perspectives of the 3 protagonists a chapter at a time.  

Bette is seriously messed up; her mother is channeling crazy pageant mom, to the point where she sets up a torture ballet studio in their basement. Bette has had pressure heaped on her from a very young age, and when first Cassie, and then Gigi, start getting the roles she considers hers, she snaps.

June doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere; the Korean kids ostracise her for being too white, and she just doesn’t really have any friends. She is sick of being cast as the understudy, and wants to be seen. June is fed up with having to justify her place at the Conservatory to her mother, and wants recognition for her hardwork and talent. 

Gigi loves to dance, and can’t believe she keeps getting the lead roles. She genuinely is pleased for other people when they succeed, and wants to make new friends. However, some people don’t like competition and someone starts messing with Gigi, in the same way they messed with Cassie. It starts off with small things, but escalates out of control, until someone is seriously injured.

I really enjoyed the book and devoured it in a day. The characters are relatable, if a little extreme, and ruthless, and it’s very addictive.  I only gave it 4 stars because you don’t get many answers.  They really want you to read the sequel! Also, I felt there was a bit of an inconsistency about Bette’s age – it said she was seven when she danced in the performance where her sister was the Sugar Plum Fairy 6 years ago…which would make her 13 now, but she’s clearly 16 or 17…okay. That’s just me nitpicking though.

The main thought I came away with from this book was don’t mess with hungry girls!

And I’m picking up the sequel now, even though I have 9 other books on my TBR pile for the last 1/2 of the month, because I have to know what’s going on!!

Have you read this book or it’s sequel? Let me know own in the comments, but please – no spoilers!


Stephani Xxx 


2 thoughts on “Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton 

  1. I am very sorry i didnt pick this book up with my last haul … I went back to it twice putting it back on the shelf. I will be sure to pick it up my next trip .. thanks 🙂


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