Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

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.


Verse novels hold a special place in my heart and I think Audition was a perfect match for the verse format. Stasia Ward Kehoe’s young adult debut was inspiring and intense, and I had a hard time setting it down once I got into it. The writing style made it a very quick read and after the slow start, I was soon immersed in this poignant tale of love and ballet. Audition was more than a book about a ballet dancer- there were so many sub-plots that combined to make this a refreshing and unique story that most definitely piqued my interest in researching more about ballet.

Sara is just sixteen when she gets a scholarship to a dance school in New Jersey. Leaving behind everything she has ever known, Sara is about to be challenged in so many ways. I think a lot of girls will relate to Sara because she is vulnerable nad very real. Although she is just sixteen, Sara is forced to grow up very fast in the sometimes terrifying world of dance. Gone are the days of scampering around in a tutu and pretending to do splits, Sara’s life is now ballet, ballet, ballet. Her body and mind are stretched to the limits as she works to reach the highest level possible. It was inspiring to see how Sara worked to balance school and dance, and I also felt for her, having to leave her parents behind and move in with a strange host family. She doesn’t connect with anyone until Remington. Twenty-two year old Rem, one of the choreographers at her new dance school, is alluring and passionate- he soon sweeps Sara off her feet.

Sara and Rem soon develop a relationship (mainly physical) and Sara’s life changes once again. Rem was an interesting character and while I never truly understood or cared for him, I can see how he appealed to Sara. In addition to Rem, there were several other characters that impacted Sara’s life in some way. From her ballet friends, to her best friend back home, to the host family that took her in in New Jersey. Although these characters weren’t developed very much, I liked getting to know them, particularly the other girls at her Jersey Ballet School. It was sad to watch the girls struggle to reach the top, even those not yet in their teens.

Even if you have never had an interest in ballet, I think this book will appeal to you. It was much more than a book about ballet, but a tale of Sara’s journey in finding herself and what she wanted with life.

In all, I enjoyed Audition quite a bit. Even though some parts dragged a little and I wished some of the secondary characters were better developed, I am glad I had the chance to read this. Audition was an original and poignant novel that opened my eyes to a world so different from my own. I am looking forward to seeing what Stasia Ward Kehoe writes next!

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

October 13, 2011/Viking Juvenile/464 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Publisher/Author (ARC)


  1. I'm not a big fan of verse novels, but this book sounds and looks really good. I'm glad to hear that it's orginial, because I need a book like that. :) Great review.

  2. I've only read one verse novel and have to say, it wasn't too bad! (Plus it read REALLY quickly.) I'm so confused that a verse novel can drag, because there is so much less content on the pages, you'd think it'd be super fast. But I guess that's not how it works. Either way, STILL super excited to read this book :)

  3. I didn't know this was written in verse! I think it's incredible when an author can describe a moment in just a few sentences.

    Now I'm even more excited to read this. I'll keep in mind that it drags a little, but is still worth the read. :D

  4. I was also interested in this book, though I didn't know it was a verse novel and Im not sure how I feel about it now.

    Still, you paint an interesting picture, just wish the secondary characters were more developed because it doesn't sound like they are.

  5. I really like verse novels and this one sounds really interesting. I'll definitely be picking up a copy soon. Great review!

  6. Now I'm even more excited to read this. I'll keep in mind that it drags a little, but is still worth the read. :D


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