Reviews

Second Position, by Katherine Locke

vimesheva's review against another edition

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2.0

The writing was decent, but it's a fairly short book where basically nothing happens. The author spends the majority of the time describing Zed and Aly's emotions but while those descriptions are initially evocative, they repeat over and over (while, again, nothing actually happens plot-wise) and therefore lose their magic rather quickly.

While a lot of time is spent in Zed's head and you start to get to know him a bit (but not that much), Aly is two-dimensional and entirely defined by her eating disorder/depression/anxiety/mania/etc. Despite the repeated assertion that ballet defines Aly, I actually did not really feel that come through at all. And at the end of the day, I felt really bad for Zed because no one (not Aly, not his friend Dan, or any other briefly mentioned characters) seem to give a crap about the fact that he (a) lost his career and (b) lost his leg which sort of baffled me--those are some pretty crazy-important things to lose. I got the sense that the trauma was assigned to his character to give him depth, but in reality he was just there to be a doormat for Aly.

Overall, a quick read with good prose but light on the plot and character development.

selinamarcille's review against another edition

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4.0

The characters in this book were well developed. The side story with the ballet made for some nice conflict apart from their difficulties in getting together.

chelsea_not_chels's review against another edition

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4.0

More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

I needed to read a book that took place in Washington, DC for the Popsugar Reading Challenge's category, "A book that takes place in your hometown." Really, this seemed to me like a poor choice of category because many, many people live in towns that do not feature as the settings in books. My hometowm of Erie, Pennsylvania happens to be one of them. I did some Googling, but nothing came up and no one I talked to had any ideas, either. So I switched tactics and began looking at my second hometown, Washington. The Seamstress hadn't worked out for this, but one of my friends had added Second Position to her list, and an author I quite like (Sherwood Smith) gave it a favorable review, so I figured it was time to get reading.


Second Position is a beautiful book that tackles an extraordinarily complicated relationship. Aly and Zed danced ballet in Philadelphia, and their close friendship morphed into something more--until they got in a car accident and everything changed. Zed lost his leg. Aly lost their baby. In the wake of the accident, the pair were separated and didn't see each other for years, until Aly walks into Zed's favorite cafe in Washington. She's on leave from the Philadelphia Ballet Company after having a mental breakdown, hitting another dancer, and seeking treatment for an eating disorder. Zed now lives in DC, where he teaches theater. The chance encounter in the cafe sets them on another collision course, this time with each other and a discussion of all the things they could gain or lose.


Because of the characters' backstories, the book takes on a lot of big, complicated issues that most romance authors don't choose to include in their stories. Depression, anxiety, amputations, eating disorders, miscarriages--it's a lot of issues to cram into one book. But Locke handles them well, with finesse and respect. Aly's eating disorder is not disparaged or glorified, but treated with a gentle respect and consideration for how it affects all areas of her life, and how she works to overcome it. Oh, and did I mention that Zed is a recovering alcoholic? His issues aren't touched on as deeply as Aly's, an interesting decision but one I suppose makes sense. Having both parties as messed up as Aly, at the same time, would have been a disaster waiting to happen, and probably an not a salvageable one.


This is not, in any way, a happy book. There is not witty banter, no tete a tetes, no side characters lending a little levity to the situation. There are supporting characters, but they're very minor. It's all Aly and Zed, all the time, and they're so incredible intense that I sometimes needed a break. They were, at times, overwhelming. This definitely isn't a book to read for a light afternoon, but the writing and tragic reality of it, and how healthy Zed and Aly's relationship ultimately is, made it a beautiful story nonetheless. I would have liked to see more of Zed's struggle, at least in hindsight, because how he was so together in comparison to Aly almost made his problems seem less than hers, though they definitely were equal. Hopefully this will be touched on more in the second book, Finding Center, which I will definitely be picking up.


4 stars out of 5.

jawolffe's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

andiabcs's review against another edition

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I made it 62% and I just can't do it anymore. I can't finish. I'm bored out of my mind and I don't feel the spark between them at all. I almost wish this book was about before the accident and mot after. First ballet book was officially a bust for me.

kittenlebon's review against another edition

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5.0

I love books about ballet and this was a deep, real love story that also explored mental health issues in a relatable, honest way.

ajillionbooks's review against another edition

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4.0

Solid writing, great story. Heart-wrenching through and through.

melbsreads's review against another edition

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4.0

I love ballet themed things an unhealthy amount. So when a friend told me about this series, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. And it was totally worth it. I mean, a ballerina with an acknowledged eating disorder who's also struggling with anxiety and self harm who's in love with her former ballet partner who lost his leg in a car accident? That's not exactly your standard boy-meets-girl contemporary.

Aly's eating disorder and Zed's disability were both handled really well, and their relationship was incredibly sweet. It did feel ever so slightly repetitive at times, but it was so adorable that I didn't really care. Honestly, I think my one major gripe would be that my head canon states that Zed is African American, and the cover is blowing that head canon right out of the water. I JUST WANT HIM TO NOT BE WHITE, OKAY?!

So yeah. It's confronting at times, particularly where the discussion of Aly's mental health is concerned. But it's worth it. And I'm thrilled that the second book comes out in August so that I only have four months to wait...

acdom's review against another edition

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4.0

First STOP and go read the prequel, Turning Pointe. I can't imagine reading this without having read the .5 first. Why it's not just the first few chapters, I don't know. Why, Katherine Locke, why?

Next, oh ballet. I love you. I love you so much.

I've been excited about this book for some time and I tried to not rush through it, as I usually do with books. Instead I limited myself to a few chapters a night, making it last for a week. I'm so glad I did because it was totally worth it.

Both of the characters, Aly and Zed, are kind of terrible in their own way. I wanted to punch them both, but also hug them (and feed Aly). They clearly make bad choices about their lives and relationships, but it's interesting to watch them work through it all. I especially loved the chapters where Aly was at therapy. The interactions between her and her therapist were funny and charming, and ultimately made her a better, healthier person.

Now to wait for the next book...

shay23's review against another edition

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4.0

Full disclosure this is probably only the second or third New Adult book I've read. It's not my normal genre and age range but I'm a sucker for any kind of artsy storyline, including dancing, so as soon as it came through for Sunday Street Team I had to sign up for it. And I am so glad I did because I genuinely enjoyed this one.

The book follows Zed and Aly, two dancers and old best friends, four years after they stopped talking to each other. They used to be best friends and maybe something more, growing up dancing together, and then a car crash ruined it all. Leaving Zed minus a leg and Aly just as wounded in ways that can't easily be seen.

This book, first and foremost, is a love story. A story about second chances and giving yourself permission to love and be loved when you're not sure you deserve it. It's a story of passions and those passions being taken away; grief, loss, and dancing.

The love story is obviously between Zed and Aly, who both have their own demons to deal with and aren't really sure how to act around each other anymore. Everything is so familiar yet so very different because it's been four years and everything has changed. I liked both characters probably Aly most of all, and I loved that it was dual POVs so that we get to see both their sides and lives.

There is a lot of character development here, especially when it comes to Aly. I kind of hated her at first, but she grows up so much and she has so much stuff she's dealing with, but she never hides the fact that she's falling apart and she learns to be strong again in her own way, always holding on to dance even if that's what hurt her in the first place. I did love Zed too, but at points he felt the opposite, not like he was growing but...reverting. And he was a straight up asshat at parts and just made me so angry.

They have a slightly tragic love story and the author does a really good job of keeping you rooting for them because it's just SO OBVIOUS THAT THEY BELONG TOGETHER. Another thing I loved about this book is that there is some seriously good writing in it, very quotable and I would quote some of it but, you know, it's an ARC and I'm lazy. But at the same time, while there's epic quotable writing, sometimes it gets too wordy and some of the meaning gets a little lost.

All the stuff about dancing was probably the best, it made me wish I was a dancer so badly and you could really tell that the author knows what she's talking about. I loved Aly's love for dance and how it was the only thing she knew was true about herself: that she's a dancer.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book. Yes it's New Adult but it's not all about sex and drugs like some of the previous ones I've read, it's very much just about finding yourself, saving yourself and learning to move on after a tragedy you never expected to face. With stellar writing and pretty amazing characters, I'd definitely recommend it to any New Adult readers.

Would I Recommend This? Yes.
To Whom? New Adult fans
Will I read more from this author(or series)? Probably.