Series: Indigo Dreams #1
Published by Dancing Poodle Press on December 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Dance, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Family, Performing Arts, Young Adult
Pages: 264 •Format: eARC •Source: Publisher
For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders – the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers. But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.
I spent a good 7 years of my adolescence dancing. The performing, the athleticism, the costumes, the music- I loved it all. Though ballet wasn’t my main focus, I took enough classes to appreciate the extreme talent and dedication it breeds, and how it becomes a lifestyle for many. My dance background, along with the stunningly gorgeous cover is what drew me to Wish, although aside from that I had no idea what to expect, having never read a dance based book. What Wish provided wasn’t just a book about dance, but a gutting, heart-wrenching account of alcoholism, emotional abuse, and the weight of a fractured family resting precariously on a teenager’s shoulders.
I’d like to start with saying that the writing in this novel was very, very good and never felt clunky or over dramatic. Indigo’s narrative was honest without being whiny, as she narrates the continued deterioration of her family system that’s running parallel with the mounting pressure of the looming date of the audition of a lifetime. This balance of tensions was incredibly well done, and the two storylines intertwined perfectly. Grier Cooper definitely knows her dance terminology and manages to translate the physical beauty and intensity of ballet to the page, which was a task that’s undoubtedly difficult, as dance is so visual. Cooper likewise writes Indigo’s alcoholic mother with an able hand, as her erratic behavior and viscous treatment toward her children is painfully realistic, and had me cringing and screaming for Indigo to fight back while simultaneously fearing for her and her little brothers.
The only aspect of the book that didn’t work as well for me were the social ones. Indigo’s relationship with Jesse didn’t resonate with me and seemed to serve more as a plot point (as it pulls her attention from dancing) rather than a real romance. Indigo’s friends were a mixed bag; at times they felt vapid and silly but at other times they really pulled through for her (though there was a large cast of them plus all of their boyfriends and it was hard to keep track of them or feel invested in them at times). It was nice to see female relationships that were constructive rather than destructive portrayed a majority of the time, although there was a mini sort-of rivalry constantly in the background between Indigo and another dancer named Marlene that seemed rather unnecessary.
Overall: As a dancer, I enjoyed this book and appreciated the attention to detail. As a reader, I was invested in Indigo’s family’s outcome and Indigo’s future. As a human, I was proud to see the way Indigo confronted the alcoholism running unchecked in her family and how she looked to resources such as Al-Anon for support. I will definitely be checking out the sequel in this series to see how Indigo’s family continues to cope and how Indigo herself balances healing herself with her budding dance career.
About the Author
Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.
Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.
Tour Schedule & Purchase Info
You can find the tour schedule for Wish here.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge