Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Penguin, 2011. ISBN: 9780143566595.
Winning a scholarship to the prestigious Jersey Ballet School is a dream come true for sixteen year old Sara. However living the dream brings challenges and sacrifices that she had never considered. The world of the elite dancer is one of grueling rehearsal schedules, injuries, diets and rivalries. Even worse are the feelings of isolation as she is denied the teenage pursuits that her school friends enjoy like movies, team sports and school formals.
Audition is not just about the pain and joy of pursuing a dream to the highest level but also a coming of age story. Sara finds love, develops a passion for writing and becomes increasingly aware of choices available beyond the ballet studio. Increasing maturity bestows the confidence to assert herself.
Reading this debut novel feels initially awkward because it is written entirely in verse. However Kehoe has such beautiful expression and the story is so absorbing that one quickly adapts to the unconventional format. The characters are credibly portrayed and momentum is sustained to the very end.
This is an enjoyable, unique book that will appeal to girls, particularly dance enthusiasts.