Various Positions, by Martha Schabas
There is this book about ballet that is half Black Swan and half Sweet Valley High. It was on a few of Canada's very best book lists of 2011, and though people are saying it is a courageous debut, I couldn’t help but thing it was a fairly standardized YA plot. Things get crazy, then they get crazier, then they make sense. The typical secondary characters (sexualized male teacher, absentee father, over-emotional mother) don’t seem to develop, they just surprise us by being normal. And the protagonist, caught in that ‘learning that the world is dripping with sex’ period in her life, doesn’t appeal to teenagers or adults– she’s too compulsive for kids, too unpredictably uptight and then loose for adults, and too simple-minded about sex in general. Is this book courageous because a teenager buys a thong? Or looks at porn? Or takes dirty photos?? That said, despite her annoying habits, watching this character’s life fall apart was a strange kind of addictive. I couldn’t put it down.