Caridad Ferrer's site
Copy obtained: bought
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Dance is Soledad Reyes's life. About to graduate from Miami's Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandell, who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Instead, why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has.
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears. One explosive encounter later, Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened but her entire future as a professional dancer in jeopardy.
I had high hopes for this book. It sounded like an intense, romantic read and one I'd enjoy, I really liked the premise for it. But within a chapter or two it was pretty obvious this one was not going to work for me. I found Soledad hard to connect with. She's not exactly flakey, but very focused and the way she was blind to certain things and the general world going on around her irritated me.
The writing is good, but the book is written from Soledad's emotions and thoughts so it sometimes felt like I was wading through something not quite liquid as I tried to figure out exactly what was going on. The dance and music scenes are described beautifully, but Soledad can go from one place with one person to another with someone else with no description at all. One moment she's having a conversation with character b, next moment she's with character c and b is no where around. Have to play a bit of mental catch up and understand that actually, nothing has been ignored, it's just been left out of the script. When Soledad is actually interacting with other people, and when her thoughts are more specific and less general, then she showed the spark needed for me to like her and connect with the story. But it tended to just last for a sentence or two then I was struggling again.
Plot wise I didn't get with the story either. I did something I very rarely do with this book. When I was around the halfway point I skipped to the end and read a few paragraphs. I needed to know which of the two guys Soledad was going to end up with, because if it went one way, I wouldn't have bothered finishing it. As it went the other, I carried on with it, but it wasn't a quick finish. I found the characters hard to mesh with and I wasn't too impressed with the handling of certain issues either. One good thing about it though was how the second love interest came from an unexpected place. I really liked that part of it.
But throughout the book Soledad showed very little growth, right until the final couple of chapters. I actually really liked those final chapters, for the most part. It was a case of too little, too late for me though. It did redeem it somewhat for me, but not enough for me to have found it a particularly worth while read. I'm certain though that there are plenty out there for whom the style and story would work very well for. It's certainly got some intensity and heat to the dance scenes and a few parts of the romance as well, along with some realities of emotional abuse. It just didn't work for me.