Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: Nova in New York

An advance reading copy of the book was
provided to me by Orca Book
Publishers & NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review.
(This review was originally intended to be posted before the publishing date of this book, and I'd like to apologize to my readers as well as the amazing people at Orca Book Publishers for the delay.)

Have I mentioned before how much I love books about dancers?💃 Or how about how much I love books that are set in New York City?🏦🏩🏢 Well, this title has both, and a super pretty cover!

Not only that, but this novel has a Canadian author, a Canadian publisher, and a Canadian protagonist! I've started off my newest year of reading in the right directions - those directions being 1) Canadian🍁 and 2) Awesome 😎

Apologies for the emoji overkill - now on to the actual review!

Nova is a Canadian teenager who has been studying ballet for 10 years and has been accepted to a prestigious summer dance program in NYC. It's her first time out on her own in a big city and her first time living farther than a few steps from her dad and farther than a bike ride from her aunt Ivy. Along with the anxieties that come with being in a big, unfamiliar city and being on her own for the first time, Nova also has to work hard in her program's classes under the unrelenting scrutiny of the instructors, all of whom have high expectations for these students who have earned a spot in this professional and highly competitive program. She struggles during the lessons and can't help but compare herself and her skills to the other dancers, and Nova even begins to question whether or not she wants to dance professionally at all.

One thing I need to mention right away is that this book is intended for a younger age group than other books I typically read, with this novel being less than 130 pages and directed towards readers ages 9-12. While this is still definitely a teen/YA read, the novel's pacing is directed by its size and the story may seem rushed for those who are used to reading larger to average-sized books. Even though this will be a quick read for avid bookworms, it is still highly enjoyable; this novel has a way of reminding its readers of their own dreams and passions, and it gets them thinking about what exactly caused them to fall in love with those dreams in the first place.

What is considered a super-quick read for regular readers is also an example of a perfect gateway book for someone who doesn't read very often but would like to start without being overwhelmed by a long series of novels or a thick book with 400+ pages. I believe this is an example of what is called hi-low reading, which admittedly I had to Google in order to know exactly what it means: hi-low is a shortened version of High Interest/Low Reading Level. This term mostly applies to children who are growing out of picture books and into chapter books; they are curious about reading but are still working on developing their reading skills, so they don't want to be deterred from reading anything that is too difficult for them to process without an adult's help. These types of books are also ones that grab a person's attention right away with its synopsis and get readers excited to dive into the story, hence the descriptor of "high interest" by the publishers of these titles.

Just because this book is directed towards a slightly younger audience doesn't mean that an adult won't find anything of remote interest between its pages. This novel also deals with the topics of bravery, new experiences, and most interestingly, an illness in the family/the death of a loved one. Nova's aunt Ivy has cystic fibrosis, which is why she lives vicariously through and encourages Nova's dancing, since Ivy wasn't able to become a professional ballerina herself. The deteriorating condition of her aunt's health is one of the things causing Nova to feel stressed about being so far away from home, despite her aunt and her father insisting that she not throw away this amazing opportunity to be in this program and to experience a whole new city during the summer.


Now we'll be needing to enter into a SPOILER ZONE for a portion of this review:



Okay, SPOILERS OVER.

The versatility of this novel makes it easy for me to recommend Nova in New York to pretty much anybody, including parents with children in that 9-12 age range. It seems fitting that the first book I've read in 2019 is one that would be a great gift for that friend who doesn't read for pleasure and doesn't fully understand the joy that overcomes you every time you visit a bookstore or library. The story is easy to digest for the multi-tasking reader or the type of reader that sets a book down and takes a while before picking it up again, because there is no need to go back and re-read to be reminded of where they left off. This is a fantastic gateway read, so you should pick it up for yourself and then pass it on to a present or future bookworm 😁

That's all for this review! I hope all of you are keeping up with your 2019 reading goals so far, be they modest or massive. Let me know in the comments what you're currently reading, and of course if you have any recommendations for me I'd love to hear from you! Bye guys, I'll be sure to keep you posted!

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