Second Position by Katherine Locke

jackiehorne's review against another edition

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I picked up Katherine Locke's Second Position, the first full-length novel in her District Ballet Company three-story series, back in January, after reading a tweet from the author saying that the book fit the bill for those looking for a demisexual romance with a non-alpha male protagonist. But the book isn't really focused on demisexuality; it's more about the long, arduous process of accepting loss and recovering from trauma.

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mindfulbanter's review against another edition

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I have to breathe before I even try to write this. This book has very little (if any) dull moments and each section is packed with emotion that I groaned every time I had to put this book down to dash off to my next class. Katherine did an amazing job with the pacing, the voices of both Zed and Aly (as the book was held in both perspectives), and somehow did an even better job with the storytelling because it felt incredibly real. I'm a native of Philly, so to see "Philadelphia" pop up twice on one page disturbed me, but that's my own little quirk and didn't detract from the reading experience at all.

I just want to note that the portrayal of ballet dancers and eating disorders was incredibly spot on since I have both of those in my background, though not nearly as advanced as Aly. I want more authors to be able to throw in mannerisms and not immediately draw attention to the otherwise taboo issues.

All in all, I really can't wait for the next installment and if you're interested in a riveting, passionate New Adult novel about an ex-ballerino and a ballerina in distress re-falling in love with all the real life blunders, download this book right now!

ruby_roo's review against another edition

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*Trigger Warnings for: Eating disorder, self harm, miscarriage, loss of a limb, suicidal ideation, probably more*

If you plan to read this, please look further into potential triggers.

cupcakegirly's review against another edition

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I enjoyed that! Makes me wish I could go to the ballet now.

While not required, reading the prequel, TURNING POINTE (free link on the author's website), does provide background on Aly and Zed's relationship in all it's complicated beauty.

Locke's prose is as lyrical as the dance her characters perform. And she does a fantastic job of delving deeper into the issues surrounding both Aly and Zed which made their story feel authentic and real. There are no easy fixes. Healing and recovery takes time, effort and patience.

For a NA, this has very little sex in it, HOWEVER, this is an intensely romantic story. Read it. And then go lose a few hours of your life on Locke's Pinterest boards.

elenajohansen's review against another edition

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DNf at 25%, partially for angst without enough story to back it up, but honestly, mostly for nonsensical dialogue and complete lack of setting.

The book is divided between the POVs of its two main characters, Aly and Zed. Aly's chapters irritated me to no end because it was literally nothing but dialogue with her therapist. No dialogue tags, no fidgeting, no facial expressions, nothing but the words they said--the worst example of "talking heads" in a story that I've ever seen. So they just sit in a blank room with no furnishings, completely isolated from any noises outside, Aly's phone never rings because she forgot to set it to silent, the receptionist whom I assume exists never has to interrupt for an emergency...nothing. They sit in a blank room and talk at each other.

Zed's chapters are actual story, in the sense that things happen other than dialogue. Of course, most of it is angsty internal monologue. But when things do happen, at least there's physical space around the characters for them to happen in.

However, the dialogue is still a major issue in Zed's POV, just in a different way. I couldn't follow it, sometimes. I mean, quite seriously, that one character would say something, and the other would reply, and I would have no idea what it meant, because it seemed completely disconnected from what was said first.

For example, Zed's teasing the barista at his local cafe. Zed's friend Dan walks in and says, "You torturing the staff again?" Zed replies, "Only for you."

What? What does that even mean? And I can't use the rest of the scene to try to put it in context. Nothing comes before it that would help--this happens the moment Dan walks in. Immediately after, a more normal conversation happens, starting with "How're you?"

Nothing earlier in the book helps, either. I don't recall ever seeing Dan at that cafe before, just Zed and Aly at various times. Dan hasn't revealed elsewhere that he enjoying pestering the employees of whatever establishments he frequents. So how does it make any sense that Zed is "torturing" the barista "for [him]"? If it's a joke, why isn't it funny? If it's an inside joke, when was I, the reader, clued in? (Never.)

This isn't even close to the only example, just the one nearest to where I stopped reading. In Zed and Aly's numerous rambling conversations, they spoke elliptically of their history in ways I simply couldn't piece together. Zed would often ask a question, then go off on an internal monologue for a page and a half, then Aly would answer and it would make no sense, even if I paged back to reread the question.

All of this, put together, means I couldn't get invested in the characters, because I didn't have a single hope of understanding them. The whole narrative felt very stream-of-conscious with a startling lack of continuity and no real definition between past and present, exacerbated by some places where (to the best of my understanding) the verb tense of the story got mixed up so that I honestly didn't know whether I was in the present or yet another internal flashback.

threeseagrass's review against another edition

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It was cute, but their relationship was honestly too much. Everything was so dramatic and sickeningly sweet between the two that I kind of wished it had ended earlier.

thegabecole's review against another edition

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While the pacing was a little slower than I tend to like, I really appreciated the respectful representation of mental illness and disability in this romance. Bonus points for positive representation of therapy, too.

stephaniemarie's review against another edition

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I think this deserves a video review. will post as soon as I finish the rest of these beautiful books

alienor's review against another edition

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4.5 stars. I wish I could have stopped crying but alas, I guess that's what happens when you read such a poignant and beautiful story.

I regret nothing.

▨ I wish I could express how and why I think that Zed and Aly's journey should be read, but alas, I have this ball of emotions boiling in myself right now and I'm honestly afraid to let it go.

I still welcome all the overwhelming feels because sometimes, you just have to.

I wish I could quote the hell out of this breathtaking and heartbreaking novel but then I would copy/paste the whole thing and alas, copyrights are a bitch.

Also, I really want you to try this book, and we wouldn't want you to know everything already, would we?

This is, in my honest opinion, what New Adult should be about. No endless players and perfect girls who slut-shame like nobody's business. No fabricated drama and decisions that make no sense. No idiotic male-POV that anger me on men's behalf. No "that's not gonna fit" roll-eyes-worthy bullshit, either.

▨ I wish more NA novels could stay clear of all this crap and offer us more characters like Aly and Zed, fleshed-out and endearing and realistically flawed. I love them to pieces.

▨ I wish I wouldn't feel the urge to roll my eyes every time a strong issue is tackled in NA because I'm so tired of magic dicks and the likes.

► And yet, surprising and lyrical gems like this one make me remember - in the best way possible - why I never give up on any genre. [b:Second Position|22663595|Second Position (District Ballet Company #1)|Katherine Locke||42162397] is very character-driven, and is not perfect by any means (the secondary characters could have been more present & layered, and the plot is pretty simple) but I couldn't care less. The raw emotions, the beautiful writing and our adorable couple outweigh all the little flaws by far.

Thank you, [a:Katherine Locke|8430243|Katherine Locke|]. With all my heart, thank you.

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leahkarge's review

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I enjoyed the first 1/3 of the story, but the last 2/3 of it dragged as the MCs seemed to have the same fights over and over with minimal development, and I ended up skimming the last 1/3.

I did, however, think that the neurodivergent and disabled representation were well done.