DNF: Various Positions by Martha Schabas

Various Positions by Martha Schabas How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: I liked the cover and I often let covers blind me to certain aspects of books. In the case of Various Positions, it made me forget all about actually checking to see what this book was about.

How I would rate it: DNF – I did not finish this book.


Trapped between the hormone-driven world of her friends and the discontent of her dysfunctional family, fourteen-year-old Georgia is only completely at ease when she’s dancing. When she is accepted into Canada’s preeminent ballet school, Georgia thinks it is the perfect escape. Artistic Director Roderick Allen singles her out as a star, subjecting her to increasingly intensive training, and Georgia obsesses about becoming the perfect, disciplined student. But as she spends more and more time with Roderick, it’s not so clear exactly what their relationship means. Is he her teacher and mentor, or is there something more? These blurred lines will threaten both Roderick’s future at the academy and Georgia’s ambitions as a ballerina.

Review: To be fair, what I read of this book was very well written if a bit depressing and anxiety-inducing. Schabas’ main character, Georgia, was very believable so it was easy to connect and feel sorry for her as she struggled to find her place in school, at home, and in life in general. Eventually it occured to me that I had no idea what the plot of this book was supposed to be. So I eyeballed the summary on GoodReads and was a bit horrified because criminently! Various Positions was not the ballet book I was looking for at all.

I paused in my reading, reflected, debated internally, and then tried reading a bit more, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter how lovely the writing was if I was going to be made miserable in the end. I just kept imagining my review consisting mainly of pitiful woe is me nonsense about how stupid I was to pick a book up simply because the title was catchy and I liked the tulle skirt the ballerina was wearing. So I did what I always do when I’m torn about how things will play out for fictional people I’m in the process of getting to know as well as whether or not I want to be there to see it. I skimmed ahead only to discover just how uncomfortable things were going to get didn’t help matters. Then I read on and saw that things were going to be left very unresolved in a very unsatisfying way, which brought my sojourn into reading books solely based on covers to an abrupt end.

In conclusion, not a good pick for me as I have no desire to read about the horrible life decisions made by teens in need of help, guidance, and significantly less one-on-one time with their male ballet instructors. That said, if Schabas’ next book focuses on something different, I’d happily read it.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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