Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Release Date
: October 13th 2011
Pages: 458
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Publisher: Penguin
Buy It: Book Depository
When Sara wins a  scholarship to study ballet, she moves to a strange city where she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. 
I love novels in verse, but Audition was one of those "not quite there" books for me. I didn't dislike it, but for a novel that started off with such potential, and had such beautiful portions about dancing, the last quarter just fell flat. And maybe my expectations were a bit high, but the book is blurbed by Ellen Hopkins of Crank, who is the reason I got into reading verse novels in the first place. So yeah, I wanted a lot out of Audition, but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that it would have disappointed me regardless.

Sara's relationship with Remington was not only creepy– which I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be, but that didn't make it any less disturbing– but also really reminded me of the movie Center Stage. Released in 2000, Center Stage might be a bit of an old references for many YA-ers, but it's a film about a group of teenagers at a ballet academy, there's a lot of drama, including this one girl that doesn't seem to belong there, until she begins a scandalous relationship with one of the dance teachers. Sound a little familiar?

Of course, there are only so many stories in the world, and Kehoe definitely brings her own unique take to this one, particularly because of her writing, which was lyrical and poetic in a way that worked fantastically when describing dance. But the familiarity of the story definitely made Audition a harder sell.

But that's actually not where the book went wrong for me. What happened was that, Sara has a revelation that I just didn't believe. It's a huge shocking announcement, and even though Audition is written in first person POV, I felt totally surprised and confused when I read it. The character development just wasn't there, and in the end I felt cheated, as if I had missed something that would have made the turn of events more realistic. And it was that climax that overshadowed everything else I could have possibly liked, or disliked, about the novel.

When I pick up a book, I want to be transported to another world: Kehoe does that with the first three quarters of Audition, and then takes a wild turn into the unbelievable. Unfortunately, even lovely writing and an interesting story can't contemplate for poor character development, but Kehoe kept my attention long enough with Audition that I might still be willing to try a future novel by her. 

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