I snagged a copy of this novel when it was available as a Read It Now title from Netgalley. I figured I’d give it a shot, I’d most likely either love it or hate it. Turned out just to be okay. There was nothing particularly remarkable about it. I didn’t flat out hate it, I didn’t love it either.
It tells the story of 16 year old Kasey who feels like she has spent her whole life in the shadow of her older sister Lara. Both girls enjoy dancing, and both girls are very good at it. However, Lara has always been the prettier of the two and talented to the point where she can make a good career out of her dancing.
While Kasey’s parents funnel all their energy and attention to Lara’s career, their mom seems to see Kasey’s dancing as “just a hobby”. Their mom is terrible, one of the worst back seat driver parents I’ve come across in a long time. Kasey barely seems to register to the mom, except when she’s in trouble. The dad is okay, makes lame jokes to lighten the atmosphere when it gets tense and seems kind of passive.
The story starts with Kasey returning to school after a vacation where something terrible has happened to Lara, her dance career is DOA, and all of Lara’s friends hate Kasey, Kasey’s own friends from her dance team have turned on her and are making her miserable before she can even get in the school door. She quits the dance team and hides. All is pretty grim, there is one ray of light in her friend Lonnie. Even though it appears at some point in the summer she fucked things up with him, Lonnie seems to be more than willing to forgive and forget and still wants to be Kasey’s friend.
Kasey’s miserable, she wants people to understand her side of what happen, but no one will listen to her, so she decides to start a blog. The novel flips between what’s happening now and what happened on the vacation that lead up to the incident with Lara. It seems that before the accident, despite the fact that Kasey felt a little overshadowed by Lara they seemed to get on pretty well. Lara stuck up for her, they shared clothes and makeup and stuff and it looked as though they were sort of friends.
Though when on their family summer cruise vacation they meet two boys, Fin and Hayden, and things start going downhill between Lara and Kasey from there. Kasey’s always been kind of shy, Lara encourages her to flirt with Fin while she goes for Hayden. Fin does bring out Kasey’s fun side and while she hangs out with him without Lara around, she finds herself being flirty and funny and cute in a way she’s never really had the chance to. As the cruise progresses and they find daft things to do on the ship – sneaking into adult discos, pretending to be newly-weds to win a competition (which was pretty funny actually) their feelings start to grow. Meanwhile Lara has been planning on entering the talent show, some producers for a big dance TV talent show are supposed to be there, and Lara (and their mom) seems to think that if Lara can win the talent show on the ship, she’s a shoo in for this TV show. But somehow Kasey ends up in the talent show too.
And from then on it gets to the accident and the aftermath of the accident. There’s a big was it an accident or not theme, and as Kasey blogs about it, the kids at school all start reading and commenting, the dance team mean girls even have t-shirts at one point “team accident” and “team on purpose” (no brainer to which one the mean girls are wearing). But Kasey’s former best friend starts thawing. There’s a mystery going on as to where Lara’s been since the incident. She was supposed to be in her first year of a local college but snooping Kasey finds some stuff out. Money also disappears from mom and dad’s bank account and Kasey takes the blame – even though it has nothing to do with her.
I did think Kasey’s parents reactions to her after the incident was pretty unfair. They pretty much freeze her out. It’s like they only tolerate her in the house because they legally have to. It’s applied at a few times that Kasey isn’t even allowed to eat meals with her parents if Lara’s there. Which is pathetic and cruel. Lara doesn’t want anything to do with Kasey and in this family what Lara wants goes. No one wants to listen to Kasey’s apologies. So it’s understandable why Kasey wants to get her side out, and while blogging is the only way she can do it.
Though at least by the end of the novel there’s progress when all the answers finally come out and the sisters can start working on their relationship again. It’s never going to be quite the same, but at least things start improving. Kasey makes a monumental effort for Lara to show her there’s more to the world than dance and how she can still have a career in dance even if she’s not actually physically dancing. Which was sweet. Kasey’s friendships start getting better. And plus points to Lonnie for sticking by Kasey throughout the whole thing. The ending was a little sickly sweet for me and everything wrapped up with a sort of Disney channel TV show happiness.
It certainly wasn’t a bad novel by any means, decently written with believable characters. Though it was only an okay read for me.