The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.
When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dancer to have a partner, Sadie’s fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn’t know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.
Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual conquest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.
The girl worth the most points? Sadie.
This book made me want to SCREAM. In fact, I definitely did shake my Kobo a few times in frustration. This was definitely a case of a book taking itself WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.
I love ballet and I love love-stories. I danced for 11 years. But this book has so much more to do with the drama than the dance. It was kind of annoying how Sadie took her skills for granted. She was technically perfect. So many people would kill to have good arches or flexibility or the ability to bounce back from an injury… heck, people would even kill to have the money to afford her opportunities.
Sadie was the most unlikeable part of this book. She was so WHINY and did not develop as a character at all. She was really self-centred and didn’t treat people with respect. She pushed Luke away constantly, but didn’t want him to not want her. She never forgave Patrick, but as if she wouldn’t do the same thing? It’s not like Patrick dropped her on purpose. He made a mistake. There was no reason why choosing to pursue his dream meant that he was abandoning her. There was no evidence of that happening, except in Sadie’s own mind. Plus, Sadie was extremely passive-aggressive. I get that having an absentee mother comes with a lot of baggage, but it’s so much easier to speak up (e.g. she forgets your birthday? Go remind her). Not that this loose thread got tied up at the end in any way. Also, I found it hugely unsatisfying (and a huge disservice to performers’ capabilities) that Sadie only felt that it was possible to dance with someone gay or someone that she was romantically tied to. Where’s the professionalism here?!
The game itself was problematic. It was set up in such a way that put immense power in guys’ hands. They could choose to opt-in to the game. Girls were singled out and forced into it. The entire thing was a huge game of cat-and-mouse. Guys were rewarded for their points, and girls got crossed off once they had been “taken out of the running.” If young people believe that this is how the world works, we’re taking several huge steps back. I definitely feel like casual hook ups are a lot smaller of a deal these days, but you’d never know that based on how people reacted to it. The whole concept of this “Hit List” sickened me.
The rest of the characters were horrifically flat. Not a single guy was fleshed out other than Luke, Patrick, and Adam. Even then, Luke was painted as the Perfect Man, Patrick was the Betrayer, and Adam was the Gay Best Friend. Every other guy was depicted as a sleazy machine with only one motive. As for the girls, Brielle became an insta-best friend based on proximity. It’s oddly hollowing to not get any sense of retributive justice here. The rest of the girls are seen fawning all over the guys all the time. Give them more credit and self-respect than that.
Also, I noticed a couple of typos. Nice.
- The List – Siobhan Vivian
- The Market – J.M. Steele
- The Lonely Hearts Club – Elizabeth Eulberg