January 13, 2016

Review: Up to This Pointe

Wow, it's been a while since I last wrote a review. Bear with me! I feel a bit rusty. :)

Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo
Grade: C-
Release date: January 19, 2016
An e-galley was provided by Random House BFYR via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: 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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Up to This Pointe is told in a sort-of dual narration: once Harper is in Antarctica and then starting 140 days prior (so the events that led up to her going). This made for an interesting parallel of events as present-day Harper had to be kind of vague about what caused her to go to Antarctica. It also made everything seem more dramatic than it ended up being. When the story got to the part right before Harper went to Antarctica, a lot of time was skipped and emotions were skimmed over and I wanted more substance and feelings.
Harper also implies she has a good relationship with her parents, but when she gets to the southernmost continent, she ignores all their emails and the juxtaposition of that with how she treats them in the past seemed off and there was little explanation for it. I also wasn't buying the friendship between Harper and Kate; the bones were there, but too many parts seemed cliche or forced. And speaking of friendship, I really wanted to see the growth in Harper's friendship with Vivian. At the end of the book, they're about to jaunt across the world with each other and they seem very friendly with each other, but I wasn't buying it.
There were two romances - one in the past with Owen and one in the present with Aiden, and I liked neither. I kept waiting for everything to hit the fan with Owen and, when it didn't, I was disappointed. He just seemed too perfect. Aiden seemed too much like that "I'm a whole new me" romance, and then SPOILER ALERT he just up and leaves which made no sense to me. END SPOILER Also, Harper was technically cheating on Owen the whole time which pissed me off to no end.
Other notes: there didn't seem to be anything fresh about Up to This Pointe besides its setting. It seemed like the normal "I went through a rough spell, and I needed a big change to make things better" novel. Also, there was some diversity (Owen was Chinese, Charlotte was black, for starters), but it felt sort of shoehorned in? Don't get me wrong - I want diversity in my books. But it unfortunately felt like the author was just checking off boxes.
Finally, there was a lot of talk about sex but not much actually shown on page. Language-wise, I counted about fourteen s-words and f-words, which isn't too bad all things considered.

The Verdict: By no means did I hate this book. I think my review makes it seem like I did, but I don't. I read the whole thing. I just wish it had been a heck of a lot better.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: No, I don't think so.

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