Wednesday 2 July 2014

Book Review - Flirty Dancing

Flirty Dancing
Author: Jenny McLachlan
Series: Ladybirds #1
Genres: Contemporary | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 3rd July 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury Publishing
No. Pages: 300
Source: Review Copy - Bloomsbury Publishing
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back!

But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands..

I would easily and confidently place beats that every avid reader out there has those moments where they feel themselves falling slightly out of sync with reading, and in those moments, they pick up a trusty favourite, or a genre they adore, or sometimes, just a book they've wanted to read since they got their greedy reader hands on it, and that's what happened to me. I could feel myself falling into a slump, so I grabbed my metaphorical bull by the horns, whipped this book out of my ARC collection and read until my heart grew wings. Flirty Dancing was so cheesy, so adorable and so insanely realistic, it rescued me from my slump.

I'd like to first point out that this book is not going to be for everyone, and I confess, it almost wasn't for me; it's quintessentially a very high school bitchiness book with lots of crushes, lots of revenge and lots of big hair, and in the first third, I was a little disappointed by how immature the story was. Bea and her friends are in year 9, so of course, for a young adult book, this surprised me; I'm pretty used to protagonists and main characters being sixteen and over, so the language, the attitudes and the general everyday school lives of these characters was a little more mundane and childish than other books I've read, but after we'd gotten past this section, the entire story picked up hugely. I felt that plot wise, many of the points were predictable and easy to see coming, but didn't make the story any less enjoyable. I found myself smiling like a loon, giggling 'til the early hours and falling in love with the story of two teenagers falling in love with dance, and falling for one another. I mean, seriously, if you can find me a book as cheesy as this, then I'll actually pay you to send me a copy, because as far as cheesy, predictability bundle of happiness is concerned, this book takes the biscuit.

As if the story wasn't enough, the journey each of the characters went on and the relationships that were built were absolutely wonderful. Bea's relationship with her family is so realistic; the embarrassment and fear of judgement is very honest, and the connection she has with her sister is beautiful, although, it's a shame her father wasn't featured more, his character felt thrown in at important scenes but he was never an important parent figure unlike Bea's Nan. Damn, if I had a match-making, sassy granny like that, I'd be over the moon, because her relationship with Bea was just a breath of fresh air, the entire plot rested on Nan, and it's quite wonderful to read a story that didn't develop because of the romance or the friends, it focused heavily on following dreams and on family. I also think I have a thing for Ollie's who are tentative and caring, and encouraging and humourous and this Ollie brought out the best in Bea, while she brought out the best in him. I would like to complain about their dressing room scene; all I can say is damn food. Damn the damn bloody food.

Flirty Dancing reminded me so much of a favourite film of mine, Hairspray, which I did a review of this week also, and I think that's probably what made me love this book much more than I had thought I would. I adored the little touches of jive scenes, although I would have preferred for them to have been more detailed, and I liked and appreciated just how relatable Bea was; she wasn't your perfect 'I'm not pretty but loads of people think I am' character, she was honest, faithful and loyal, and she found something that made her happy, someone that made her happy, and made herself happy. If you're looking for a cheese fest of dancing, big curls and character development to infinity and beyond, this is it.

And though Flirty Dancing may be but little, it is fierce.


  1. A cheese fest? OMG, you summed this up so so well. x) I think, if I'd known it was MG, I would've felt a bit better about it?? I mean, it's purely ME that didn't enjoy this book a lot, because I prefer reading about, you know, dragons and faeries murdering each other. But the glitter and jiving was actually refreshing. And quick. It was such an adorable little eating fairy bread kind of. x)

    1. Thanks Cait, it's exactly how this book felt! Man I read it so long ago, wish I could read it again! I think knowing it was MG was easier for me, I knew I was getting into something less mature than myself, so it didn't, annoy? (is that the right word?) Anyway, I agree on the fairy bread, it was definitely cute and magical :)

  2. I haven't read those yet, but I have the first two, and it you're comparing those, I should enjoy them, so that's good. Thank you Amelia for the heads up! :)

  3. Great review! I kept seeing this at all the airport bookshops and getting really curious about it. I am glad I didn't pick it up though,if I am totally honest. It sounds like a cute, fun, fluffy read but I don't think it would work for me. It's a book I would try if I saw it at work, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it. I read Cait's review as well and think the relationship with the sister sounds like the most adorable thing ever!


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