Title: Phantom’s Dance
Author: Lesa Howard
Publication Date: April 6th 2014
Rating: 4.5 stars
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it. Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine. Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
Note: This eARC was provided by Boot in the Door Publications via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Despite the ominous blurb, this book doesn’t seem to have a “dark mood” until far later into the book. Some of my favorite parts of the book are the descriptions of Christine and Jenna doing ballet at the Rousseau Academy of Dance. I can clearly imagine their fluid movements as they transition from pose to pose.
The romance between Raoul and Christine is also very adorable and cute but its quite similar to most YA relationships. But once again I find myself overlooking the cliche elements of their relationship because of the great plot. I especially like how Raoul continues to stick by Christine no matter what and supports her throughout the (sometimes negative) changes in her life.
Between worrying about a plausible divorce, struggling to overcome performance anxiety and competing against other dancers, Christine proves to be a very complex/interesting character. She’s very relatable but at the same time she’s also entirely unique. Watching her self-confidence increase throughout the book definitely gave me an ego-boost as I find it hard to overcome my own shyness too.
Jenna’s (Christine’s best friend) ambiguity interests me because I often resort to being vague when I don’t want to give an honest answer (don’t we all?). I also love her blunt/unabashed style of checking out guys behind their back! Some of those scenes just made me laugh out loud!
From the start, Erik appeared to be some kind-of bipolar/temperamental person and there’s just something about him that won’t let me trust him despite his heart-breaking past and the help he offers Christine. Then the brutal plot twists at the end of the book, pretty much prove my doubts about him and needless to say, I was pretty shocked by how quickly things unraveled and felt bad for poor Christine.
Do I recommend this book? Yes!