Author: Joy L. Smith
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: March 1, 2022
In this raw, searingly honest debut young adult novel, a former aspiring ballerina must confront her past in order to move forward from a devastating fall that leaves her without the use of her legs.
Genie used to fouetté across the stage. Now the only thing she’s turning are the wheels to her wheelchair.
Genie was the star pupil at her exclusive New York dance school, with a bright future and endless possibilities before her. Now that the future she’s spent years building toward has been snatched away, she can’t stand to be reminded of it—even if it means isolating herself from her best friends and her mother. The only wish this Genie has is to be left alone.
But then she meets Kyle, who also has a “used to be.” Kyle used to tumble and flip on a gymnastics mat, but a traumatic brain injury has sent him to the same physical therapist that Genie sees. With Kyle’s support, along with her best friend’s insistence that Genie’s time at the barre isn’t over yet, Genie starts to see a new path—one where she doesn’t have to be alone and she finally has the strength to heal from the past.
But healing also means confronting. Confronting the booze her mother, a recovering alcoholic, has been hiding under the kitchen sink; the ex-boyfriend who was there the night of the fall and won’t leave her alone; and Genie’s biggest, most terrifying secret: the fact that the accident may not have been so accidental after all.
Content warnings: Being newly paralyzed from accident, parental alcoholism, abortion.
Joy L. Smith is a childcare professional and lives in Queens, New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, she has a bachelor’s degree in human development and differences, with a specialization in communication disorders. She’s been writing since she was a teenager and has been mentored by Ibi Zoboi, Radha Blank, and Emma Straub through the Girls Write Now program. Turning is her debut novel.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, Netgalley and the author for providing me with a free digital copy to review. This in no way, has influenced my thoughts on the book. You can check out the other posts on the tour here.
This… was a nice book. Like, I loved the premise, I loved reading the characters, but the only place I found it lacking was the writing style of the part which was not dialogue. I am a person who doesn’t enjoy reading stuff that’s not dialogue (I apologize for the double negative), so this just lowered my rating. Like, it was just sorta complex and heavy and that kind of writing style was simply unnecessary for the novel.
But I also did like how the author started every chapter with ‘On this episode of The Breaking Pointe….’, however, it would have made more sense if the novel was named The Breaking Pointe.
Let’s get into an in-depth review!
The plot was what drew me to the book (the cover’s really pretty too, though). I honestly haven’t read many books which feature specially abled people, and Black people, so I was like, hey I should pick it up! It’s also well executed in the book, although I’ve to say that a lot of it is already spoiled in the synopsis, and that’s a downer.
Genie, the MC was honestly getting on my nerves in the beginning of the book, but she grew on me. The author did a fantastic job of explaining her point of view.
However, I found Kyle to be too good to be true, and Nolan was like just too bad. I want to say too bad to be true, but he actually is the representative of a lot of high school guys today, so like yeah.
Hannah was one of my favourite characters, but I have to say I’ve never met anyone who cries so easily.
Overall, I’d have to say the characters are fantastically written, but are slightly unrealistic.
I have mentioned my thoughts on it above, but I’d just like to add, I loved the dialogue!
- I may have named my chair Odile, but if I were a real black swan, I would fly away.
- I’m afraid if I tell you my secrets, you’ll use them against me.
- That’s the thing about magic. It doesn’t always work when you want it to, but it’s there when you need it.
Summing up, it’s a great novel for a debut, but definitely has a few areas it can work on! Would recommend it for someone looking for a book with specially abled rep!
Will you pick this book up? Does it sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments!