She had a plan. It went south.
Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
+++Using this for the Antarctica portion of my 2016 YA Reading Challenge
Up to this Pointe was a different sort of YA contemporary and something that is severely missing in the genre. This is not something I’d typically read. It’s very hard for me to get swept up into contemporary because that are so many overused and abused tropes that they’ve become too predictable (many, not all). So when a realistic YA really hits home, I’m always pleasantly surprised and it takes me a while to gather my thoughts, hence the lateness of this review.
Up to this Pointe is a story of self actualization and realization that goes beyond the typical coming of age story. The plot explores what happens when your dreams are crushed. What happens when the thing that you place all your hopes and future plans on falls through. And further, when the person that you made these plans with succeeds where you fail. Rejection can be a soul crushing, horrible experience for anyone and Up to this Pointe takes it a step further, when everything you’ve ever desired is taken from you no matter how hard you fight, the years of work you put in, and when your body betrays you.Every shade of emotion wars within Harper. The anger, the jealousy, the hopelessness, the rallying, the determination. It’s beautiful and dark, honest and so raw. She fights her way back to the foundation of who she used to be and comes back as better, with a greater understanding of herself.
Harper is super focused. Everything in her life is planned, precise, and on a road map to this life that she knows will not be a fantasy but is everything to her. Her determination is remarkable. She’s far from perfect. Her emotions consume her. She gets lost, she crumbles, and she does some questionable things in her grief, but this makes her story so easy to identify with, even if the plot is so out of the park.
I loved that this WAS NOT a love story in the romantic sense. Yes, there is romance, there is a guy, there’s another guy distraction, etc., but that is NOT the main arc. If anything, the romance was with her passion-ballet and later, the magic of the Antarctic.
There’s an odd bunch of secondary characters in here who are weird but likable. They each have their flaws and hangups. Occasionally their role in the plot was flighty or their story seemed ramped up for drama.
The Antarctic ❤ Do you have any idea how hard it is to find YA set in the Antarctic? It’s extremely limited. And one that has so many historical references? I adored the blend of history and science. The imagery is haunting and fantastic. The landscape is to die for. There’s a scene with the baby penguins ❤ ❤ ❤ All the feels!!!
The ending felt rushed and slammed with info. I wasn’t sure if she accomplished what she said or it was dreams that she planned on making happen when she got state side again.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: