Up To This Pointe – Jennifer Longo
Fiction – YA
Published January 19th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Sad story time: I woke up on Tuesday convinced it was Saturday and turned off my alarm and went back to bed. Not even close lol. This is how my week has been going. So anyway, that’s my excuse for why I’ve been really crappy at posting lately. Good news, I have actually been getting a lot of reading done before bed. I stayed up way later than I should have for this book because I could not just put it down. It was adorable and easy and exactly what I needed.
So What’s It About
Best friends Harper and Kate have their lives planned out. Graduate early and be ballerinas in their hometown of San Francisco where they’ll move in together. Not even the boy they both have a crush on will distract them from The Plan. When Harper and Kate’s lives start to deviate, Harper decides she needs direction. So she lies her way into a science program at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Up to This Pointe is about what brought Harper to Antarctica and what is going to bring her home.
First off, I actually really liked the Antarctic setting and what it represented for Harper, not matter how unbelievable. The book manages to be both really dark at times but then incredibly bubblegum(y) and I loved that. Harper has to face the truth that reality is harsh and your dreams don’t always come true, but you can always grow and find new dreams. I really liked that this whole book was looking forward to what Harper was going to do next. Coming up with a plan for the rest of your life at age 18 is awful and I love that this book recognizes that struggle. New plans happen and it’s good to be able to adapt and welcome them.
This book also had so many great female friendships that actually have ups and downs about more than just boys. The girls all act how actual people act and I love that. Harper and Kate are best friends forever, but go through some awkward silent phases when The Plan dies. When they do come back together it’s through talking and apologies on both sides and they work to get back what they had. On Antarctica, Harper immediately bonds with her mentor Charlotte. Charlotte is in Grad School and genuinely cares about Harper’s happiness as someone who has lived teenage hell. Charlotte’s other mentee, Vivian, is not so quick to befriend Harper. Vivian truly loves science and Harper doesn’t. What I loved most about their relationship is they never actively hated one another. They were both just there. Even when Vivian moves into a room with Harper (adorable scene) it’s not magic friendship. Their bonding takes work as any friendship does.
My one grievance, and not even grievance, more like “uhhh” moment was Harper’s parents. They support her 100% which is great, I loved reading a book where the parents respected privacy and boundaries and the teen loved their family. It was nice. However, when Harper panics her family continue on the path of “you can do anything you set your mind to,” when she obviously can’t. I understand what the author was trying to do in terms of letting Harper find a new dream that still holds her passion (such as teaching), but it came across as more of just don’t give up on this one singular dream.
“‘There is an important distinction between difficult and impossible – one requires a huge amount of effort,’ he says. ‘And the other requires more.’”
This book was adorable and exactly what I needed to get through a crazy week at work. The story is cute and I loved the focus on female friendships more than anything else. What did you guys think? Is the barometer for a cute book when there is more friendship drama than boy drama, because I love that.