Book Review: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

It doesn’t matter whether you have any experience with ballet or not — Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe is a sexy, poignant, and beautifully written coming of age story that will enchant readers of all backgrounds.

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she’s deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem’s muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she’s chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Audition is written in lyrical verse, lending a cadence to the book that echoes the ballet steps Sara dances. And as with other verse novels, the technique allows Kehoe to get right to the heart of the emotions of the story — really give us a deep, inside look into Sara’s mind and feelings. It makes the arc of the coming of age story all the more poignant and beautiful.

Kehoe also does a spectacular job of bringing the elements of ballet in Audition to life; in a sense, her words simply dance across the page. I have zero knowledge of ballet, and yet I could easily picture the movements described throughout the novel.

And while Sara anchors the story as the narrator and emotion focus, the supporting characters color the pages with life and drama and reality, giving the story dimension. Likewise, the forbidden romance oozes across the page, even tantalizing you with a fine pulse of danger that is sexy and oh-so-steamy. Kehoe is definitely not afraid to turn up the heat in this YA novel, and that gives the book a heavy dose of reality that is needed and desired.

Audition is in stores now — and whether you’re a ballet fan or a complete ignoramus like myself, you don’t want to miss this book!

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