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For fans of Sarah Dessen and Mary H.K. Choi, this lyrical and emotionally driven novel follows Alina, a young aspiring dancer who suffers a devastating injury and must face a world without ballet—as well as the darker side of her former dream.Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but then a terrifying fall shatters her leg—and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it.
After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected—namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive castmate she just might be falling for.
But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she experienced in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet—something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?
Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.
About the Author
Mariko Turk teaches writing and rhetoric classes and works as a writing tutor at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children's literature. The Other Side of Perfect is her debut novel.
Praise for The Other Side of Perfect:
- YALSA's 2022 Best Fiction For Young Adults
"Debut novelist Turk writes with a great deal of nuance....A well-choreographed story of hope, resilience, and personal growth."—Booklist
"The writing is compelling, sentimental moments with please romance lovers, and the hopeful, yet realistic, ending is satisfying. A love story with a refreshing focus on confronting systemic racism."—Kirkus
"A strong portrayal of musical theater, ballet, the arts, and culture all merged into a coming-of-age story that will resonate." —SLJ
"Beautifully written, funny, and heartfelt, The Other Side of Perfect is a must-read debut. Alina is a character to cheer for and cherish."—Emma Mills, author of First & Then and Lucky Caller
"A nuanced exploration of shattered dreams and new beginnings. Full of pain and beauty, like the best ballet."—Jenna Guillaume, author of What I Like About Me and You Were Made for Me
"A captivating story of love, loss, identity and rediscovering your truth. Perfectly en pointe!"—Wai Chim, author of The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling