Release date: June 14th 2016
A struggle with body dysmorphia forces one girl to decide if letting go of her insecurity also means turning her back on her dreams.
Sam has always known she’d be a professional dancer—but that was before her body betrayed her, developing unmanageable curves in all the wrong places. Lately, the girl staring back at Sam in the mirror is unrecognizable. Dieting doesn’t work, ignoring the whispers is pointless, and her overbearing mother just makes it worse.
Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. Forced to open up to complete strangers, Sam must get through the program if she wants to attend a crucial ballet intensive later in the summer. It seems hopeless until she starts confiding in a camp counselor who sparks a confidence she was sure she’d never feel again. But when she’s faced with disappointing setbacks, will Sam succumb to the insecurity that imprisons her?
This compelling story from Kathryn Holmes examines one girl’s efforts to overcome her worst enemy: herself
This was one of those kinds of books that completely took me by surprise with how much I was able to relate to the characters and how much I came to care about them all. These were very talented teenagers who were having trouble performing in their chosen fields for various reasons and who all ended up at the same treatment center. They were there to learn coping mechanisms and acceptance so they could go back into the world and do what they loved.
Sam, the main character, was having panic attacks over gaining weight as her body developed. Her body was no longer a perfect ballerina body and, to her, if felt like everyone around her was staring at her, judging her. It was clear that she loved ballet, that it was what she wanted to do with her life, and the fact that it felt like it was slipping away from her was terrifying. I found her character easy to understand and relate to and I really was hoping she would end up in a good place by the end of her journey – even if that place wasn’t what she was expecting.
The character dynamics were absolutely fantastic. I loved seeing the group go from complete strangers to accepting they were stuck with each other to friends to their own little family. I wanted to see them all succeed in conquering their demons and get better. Everyone from Jenna, the figure skater, Oscar the actor, Dominic the football player, Katie the gymnast, and Zoe the tennis player had their own personalities, their own stories, their own issues they would have to face. The main focus was always on Sam but the book didn’t ignore that the other teens were there for a reason. I also loved that they were all so different from each other so it gave their group a bit of the misfit family vibe I love so much.
I really enjoyed the unique way the therapists at Perform at Your Peak were able to connect with the teens and put them in activities and situations that helped them face their issues. Everything was so well thought out. I also really liked that the plot was focused on the therapy and on Sam’s journey to healing, and not on romance.
This is definitely a book I will be recommending to people. I connected with Sam and I think a lot of other people will as well.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.