Silhouette by Thalia Kalkipsakis
Every now and then one comes across an incredibly talented teen. Most of the time they have worked hard to develop the talent and have a high degree of self-discipline and an awareness of others that is well beyond their years. But every now and then there is one who just knows they are the best thing that has ever happened to this world and no one will convince them differently.
Scarlett is a very talented dancer. She is in year 12 at a specialist dance academy and in a few weeks will be graduated. From there she has her heart set on the Royal Ballet. Her mother is trying to encourage her to broaden her goals, or at least finish some of her homework. But Scarlett knows that she only needs to dance and the world will fall at her feet. Breaking every rule of the school, she auditions for a music video and gets the role. Is this the beginning of the rest of her life, or the end of all her hopes.
Kalkipsakis has written a very clear and consistent character in Scarlett. The girl simply knows that she has forgotten more than any adult will ever know. The book opens with Scarlett correcting the choreography as set by her teacher. This disregard of adults is continual, and gradually leads Scarlett in to a very ugly place far from her ballet dreams. For this very reason I liked this book a lot. Most authors would go for a cliche resolution that allows Scarlett to dance the lead in the graduation performance. Kalkipsakis comes close, but avoids that pitfall.
Over the years I have worked with heaps of talented teens. Some musically talented, some future sporting heroes, some actors and dancers. Too often the talented ones end up like Scarlett, but with no kind author to pull them back from the clifftop.