Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pirouette (review)

2/5 stars

Pirouette (Goodreads | Amazon) just didn't do it for me.  At first glance, a Parent Trap-style twins-seperated-at-birth premise just seems too fun to pass up. Factor in the fact that they're twin ballerinas sent off to dancing summer camp (dancing + summer camp too of my favorite story things) where they meet for the first time this book just sounds like it's full of win.

It's not.  The problem with this book is that it expects you to set aside your suspension of disbelief way beyond what is possible AND the main characters are supposed to be smart, but so obviously aren't.  My problems start when Hannah, the outgoing happy twin, is delayed at the airport by a day which allows her to arrive a day after all the other students so she can meet her sister in private.  It's contrived and feels contrived.  Another problem, is the speed with which Hannah (who has just met Simone) agrees to the switching for the summer despite the fact it'll wipe this prestigious dance camp off her resume (and she has aspirations of being a professional dancer).

I tried to set that aside as hokey fun.  But when Simone, the smart shy twin, begins googling information about DNA tests the bottom kind of fell out for me.  There's this whole section where Simone tries to figure out if a DNA test could prove they're identical twins and insists on doing a mail-in DNA test to prove they're twins.  Let me break this down for you.  Simone (through google) learns that identical twins have identical DNA.  She wants to do a DNA test to prove to their parents they are twins.  If Simone and Hannah have identical DNA there's no way for the lab where they're mailing the tests to be able to tell that the samples came from two people.  For all they know Simone could've sent in two samples of her own DNA and received the same results.  As far as proving this her parents, it's a waste of over $300.  Also, after going through all the trouble of taking the test and getting the results it's never mentioned again throughout the novel.

(For the record, I did some basic googling about twins & DNA.  Apparently they are coming up with tests that might be able to differentiate between identical twins genetically, but we're talking about a mail-in paternity test here).

After the DNA section disappeared and they decide to continue the switch after-camp, the book hit a pretty good stride.  Fooling the family and friends while learning more about the others.  These sections were the best of the book, enjoyable and fun as they walk, occasionally stumbling, in each other shoes  But then, near the end there's another section that's way too hard to believe.  To say more would be spoilers, but it's something that would never happen.

Overall this book was not realistic enough for a contemporary YA and the characters weren't enough to carry the story. For younger YA readers, borderline middle-grade, it would probably be more enjoyable than for older YA readers.

I received an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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