A refreshingly original contemporary YA, unlike anything readers have seen before. Perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, John Corey Whaley, and Libba Bray.
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.
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published: January 19th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Four stars: A wonderful story that explores heartache, future uncertainty while blending San Fransisco with Antarctica.
Harper finally arrives in Antarctica, prepared to spend the next six months cut off from civilization as she endures an Antarctica Winter Over. For Harper, it is the perfect escape from her real life. After spending the last seventeen years of her life dedicated to ballet, Harper has been dealt a crushing blow. Unfortunately, Harper will soon discover while marooned on Antarctica, that you can't outrun your past or your future, and that she will have to deal with her disappointment sooner than later. The question is will she survive the Antarctica Winter?
What I Liked:
- Up to This Pointe is one of the most interesting and wonderful YA contemporaries I have read in a long time. In all honesty, I was about ready to give up on this genre, but thankfully, this fantastic book came along and restored my hope and faith in YA contemp. This is a beautifully written book that explores one young girl's heartache and grief as she finds her dreams for the future crumbling around her. What makes this book stand out is that it takes the reader to Antarctica in the heart of winter. How often do you read books set in Antarctica? I assure you, it is worth reading just to learn more about Antarctica.
- You would think that the world of ballet, science and Antarctica would never blend together in a novel, but Ms. Longo pulls it off brilliantly. I loved moving back and forth in time, exploring Harper's past life as a ballerina, and then seeing her in the present day, wintering on a science station in Antarctica. I was completely enthralled and fascinated by all things Antarctica. I can tell the author spent a great deal of time researching in order to write this story. She does a tremendous job with the world building, so much so, that I could practically feel the mind numbing, bone chilling cold. The descriptions of the sky and stars were breathtaking. I was convinced I should pack up and head to Antarctica. Then you are treated to scenes in San Fransisco. Those scenes were just as lovely and detailed. I absolutely loved both settings, and I thought Ms. Longs did a brilliant job with her world building.
- Harper is a tremendous character. She is seventeen years old, on the brink of heading into her future. Harper has spent her entire life preparing and sacrificing to become a ballerina, it is her life long dream. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she has worked, Harper doesn't have the perfect ballerina body, and her dreams are quickly squashed, leading her to escape to Antarctica. Her pain and grief are heart wrenching, and I think we can all relate as we recall this trying period in our lives. I liked watching her work through it, and I loved the way she finally conquered her grief, and disappointment while finding the courage to move forward into her future. Yes, she makes some mistakes, but who doesn't?
- For all you romance lovers, there is a bit of a romance in this one. Even though it was a bit one sided, I still loved how it played out, and I couldn't help but adore Owen, who wouldn't a guy like Owen?
- The other thing that I loved about this book was all the history that the author includes. I know very little about Antarctica, and this novel tells the tales of the three famous explorers who sacrificed and died to make it to the South Pole. I was fascinated, and now I want to know more. I loved that this book educated me on Antarctica.
- The ending brings the book to a satisfying close, even though I wanted more story, I was pleased with the way it all settled out.
And The Not So Much:
- I have to admit, this book does stretch the imagination a bit. It wasn't exactly realistic that a teenager with no scientific background would suddenly be selected to go to Antarctica, yes the author does a decent job of establishing how she did it, but I still didn't think it was realistic at all. Not a big issue, but for those of you who want a believable story, this will not work for you.
- The romance was a tiny bit disappointing because I didn't like how Harper handled it, which made Owen come across as a bit too good to be true. I don't think many guys would have been as patient and as dedicated. Furthermore, there is a tiny bit of a love triangle because Harper becomes involved with a young man on Antarctica. Even though I had some niggles with the romance, I liked the way it played out, and I enjoyed it.
- Toward the end, a lot of details started to get glossed over. I didn't like that I was left wondering about several things. For instance, why did Aiden suddenly do what he did without an explanation? I also wanted to know more about how Harper got selected and how she explained to her parents about Antarctica and all of that, it was left out. I also wanted to know more about Vivian, Harper's Antarctica roommate.
- Even though the ending is nice, I felt like there was more. I wanted to see how Harper worked everything out with Kate, and I wanted to see her moving forward. I would love for the story to have had an Epilogue.
Up To This Pointe is a terrific YA contemp that manages to blend ballet and Antarctica. I loved the creativity, the originality and the setting. I especially enjoyed learning more about Antarctica and it's fascinating history. This is a book that I highly recommend to everyone, even if you aren't a fan of YA contemp. It is totally worth reading for the world building. I also appreciated that the main character is working through a difficult period in her life as she transitions into adulthood. Grab this one, it is perfect for winter!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.