Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker
Publisher: The Golden Road Press
Pub. Date: July 13th, 2009
Age Level: 14+
Beth is a lucky girl... She comes from a loving family. She has three best friends. She loves to surf and lives five minutes from the beach. She also recently discovered that the boy she's grown up with has the most amazing green eyes... Beth has every reason to smile. Every reason to be happy. Every reason to feel blessed.
Then why is she sticking her fingers down her throat?
(WARNING! The following review is somewhat spoilerish. Particularly the next to last paragraph pertaining to my thoughts on the ending.)
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later. Eventually there was going to be that book that was going to throw off my great reading streak and I'm sad to say Dancing with Ana just happened to be it. Don't get me wrong, it was...good...but it had the potential to be so much better.
In general the characters and their personalities were likable however it was in their development where the problem lay for me. Within the first 20 pages the girls have already decided to start a 'diet' and Beth and Jeremy have discovered their feelings for one another. Another thing that annoyed me was that these girls were at healthy weights already. Yes, I know in real life this tends to be the case but there was something about the way they decided to diet that seemed forced. Now with Beth and Rachel, they have other crappy stuff going on in their lives and as the book went on everything did become more realistic and understandable. It was mainly how quickly everything started that annoyed me. Also, though I cared for the characters and what happened to them, I didn't really feel connected to them.
The idea of Dancing with Ana was a great one but once again, I run into the same problems with the story as I did the characters. It all just seemed to develop way too quickly. I read this book and kept thinking that all these events could have easily been spread across a months time instead of just two weeks. This is something that could have easily been fixed by making the book longer. Aside from my issues with the development, I actually did enjoy the story a fair amount. There was a certain element of suspense that kept me wondering what would happen next to Beth. How far would she take things? And then there was something else that made me like this book that I just can't seem to put my finger on.
The writing was just okay for me. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. One thing that particularly grated on my nerves was the over usage of exclamation points when the sentence(s) really could have been satisfied with a simple period. Another thing, and maybe my copy of this book is just a fluke, but there was something totally hinky going on with the spacing, which could at times disrupt my flow of reading.
Everyone loves a good ole fashioned happy ending, however there comes a time when you have to think about what is realistic. The ending for Dancing with Ana was just too fairy-tale-happily-ever-after for me. It wasn't in the least bit practical. When a story starts with four girls deciding to go on a diet, three of which continue it, and two of which have other destructive issues going on in their lives, you just can't end it with all problems being resolved and each girl ending up with near too good to be true guys and expect it to sound believable. Trust me, things just don't end that way in real life.
In the end, I think this book could have been great had it simply been longer and been given a more appropriate ending and with better writing it could have been amazing. But it wasn't. I still think there are some good lessons to be learned from this book and I liked it well enough so I would recommend it. Just not very highly. Will I re-read it, maybe but not likely. I do hope that if this is a book you had been wanting to read, that you will look at other reviews because I've noticed many people have really liked this book.
(Note: There will not be a Noteworthy Passages for Dancing with Ana.)
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Thursday, February 11, 2010
Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 2/11/2010 08:00:00 AM