- Page Count: 368
- Release Date: January 19, 2016
- My Rating: 5 stars
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.
I knew going into this book that I’d probably adore it because it involves Antarctica and ballet, but I was not expecting it to be that emotional, deep, and straight up wonderful. I’m not sure if this book will be everyone’s cup of tea (like maybe it just happened to be the exact right formula of things I love and can relate to), but can I please emphasize how much I loved this.
I really, really connected with Harper and her journey. She spent her entire life training to be a ballerina, but had to face the hard truth that sometimes things don’t work out even if we do every single thing right and work harder than everyone else. It’s actually a hopeful story of perseverance and finding her own path, though.
When her ballerina dreams fall through, Harper finagles her way to Antarctica and spends a long, dark winter there finding herself and meeting some quirky characters (hooray for strong female friendships that pass the Bechdel test). I loved that the story didn’t turn her two potential love interests into an angsty love triangle or go in a predictable direction, either. It was realistic, the romance wasn’t the central part of the story, and the way it ended was pretty cute.
The Antarctica part of the story was SO fascinating. I’m weirdly obsessed with Antarctic winters after hearing a friend’s stories about her own experience and this book involved so much of the same weird scenarios she talked about! Pretty sure the author must’ve either lived this story or done some amazing research on both Antarctica and ballet because this is one of those rare gems where you unintentionally learn so much just by reading a fun story.
The writing and worldbuilding were so solid that I could see San Francisco and Antarctica so clearly despite never having been to either place. Like I totally feel like I’ve been there now. This is such an underhyped YA book that I seriously cannot recommend enough if you’re into ballet, Antarctica, and/or realistic contemporary stories with a hopeful note to them.