*I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book for an honest review.
First Position by Melissa Brayden
Release Date: August 1, 2016 (directly from Bold Strokes Books); August 16, 2016 (on Amazon)
Price: $9.99 (ebook); $16.95 (Paperback)
Review: I really enjoyed this book! It was really easy to read and it kept me engaged throughout its duration.
The two main characters, Anastasia ‘Ana’ Mikhelson and Natalie Frederico, are both dancers, so this book is set in the amazing world of ballet, which is what initially caught my attention. I’m not a great dancer, so I really enjoy watching and reading about dancers. The ballet lingo in this book was a definite plus and I really got lost in the the world that the author created.
Anyway, like I said earlier, Ana and Natalie are both dancers, but that’s where the similarities end. These two ladies are complete opposites in their preferences in dance, their personalities and just their overall outlook on life.
Ana is a lot more conservative and by the book. She’s a little cold toward her fellow dancers and she’s all about focusing on the prize. Ana is also interested in traditional ballet but Natalie, on the other hand, is a free spirit. She doesn’t want to be put in a box, so she does her own thing and makes up her own rules.
I liked both characters, but for different reasons. I liked Ana for her determination. Her father is a very well known ballet dancer in his own right, so she was always being compared to him. But, she never let that pressure get to her. No matter how hard things got, she was always determined to see it through and fight for what she wanted. She was also very stubborn and, at at one point in the book, her determination almost cost her a lot more than she was willing to pay.
I liked Natalie for her the freedom that she had. As I said earlier, she never wanted to be put in a box, so she never did anything traditionally. She passed up a very coveted position at the beginning of her career because she didn’t like the restrictions that it put on her dancing. She didn’t care how many people wanted that position. Since it compromised her creativity, she let it go. Not many people would’ve been able to do that and I commend her for sticking to her beliefs and values.
The way these two met wasn’t anything special. I just have to say that, if I was Ana (or any other dancer within the company, for that matter), I probably would’ve been a little angry and jealous too. The circumstances of Natalie’s admission into the New York City Ballet was kind of unfair, but because she was considered a protege, she was always being watched. They started off rocky, but, eventually, Ana and Natalie moved past all the bad and were able to become friends and, eventually, a lot more.
The romance in this novel was amazing! It was so sweet and their love for one another translated very well. These two are the perfect example of ‘opposites attract.’ They had nothing in common other than the fact that they loved to dance, but they still beat the odds and came out on top. It was like they completed one another. What Ana couldn’t do, Natalie could and visa versa. It was a beautiful thing to read.
And, for those of you who are curious, there are a few sex scenes and, yes, they are detailed. They didn’t come off as inauthentic though and they fit, both, the characters and the story, so, you have nothing to worry about.
Ms. Brayden’s writing was perfect. It flowed very well and I never had to go back to re-read anything. I was completely engrossed in her story and I can’t wait to read more of her work.
Overall, this book was amazing and I highly recommend it! I had such an amazing time reading it and it was fun spending a few hours escaping into the ballet world. Ana and Natalie (and all their secondary characters) were all great and I’m curious to see if the author will create a continuation of this book. Maybe not focusing on Ana and Natalie, but one of their friends instead. Although, if she did write a second book that continued Ana and Natalie’s story, she’d get no complaints from me.
This book isn’t out for a while, but if you do buy it when it does come out, come back and let me know what you thought of it. You guys know I love hearing from you.