Hope by Grier Cooper
Series: Indigo Dreams series #2
Published by Dancing Poodle Press on April 26, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: paperback – 302, ebook – 182
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Goddess Fish Promotions
Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.
When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.
After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?
Maggie plunks her bag down, grabbing the spot next to me. “Ten minutes ‘til the fun begins,” she says. She glances around furtively before adding, “Who knows what torture she’ll dish out today. But inquiring minds want to know: will she reach new levels of cattiness or will we be left sorely disappointed?” She grins wickedly as she finishes tying a ribbon on her pointe shoe.
Neither of us fares well when Alexa Damore teaches class. She’s known for her snide comments and keen ability to pick people apart. “I’ll take disappointment over outright humiliation any day,” I counter. “But who knows. Maybe one of these days she’ll be miraculously transformed.”
Maggie arches an eyebrow. “What?” I continue. “It’s not too much to hope for–a little prayer can’t hurt. Pray with me. ” I fold my hands together and duck my head down. Maggie smacks me.I stick my tongue out at her while I finish tying my shoes. I refuse to climb on the negativity train with her. It’s never a good way to start class.
The door to the studio glides open and a sudden hush sweeps through the room, as if the oxygen has been sucked away. Alexa Damore has arrived–but she’s wearing street clothes–and she’s not alone.
Benjamin Stafford, Artistic Director of Manhattan Ballet Theater, also known as the man who holds our future in his hands, stands in the center of the room. From where I stand, the ambient light behind him illuminates the outline of his body, as if he’s a living embodiment of a god. Then again, he is a god in the world of ballet. The silence is deafening as he slowly rotates around, gazing at each of us in turn. He flashes a brilliant smile and it’s all I can barely look at him. He’s even larger in life than he is onstage with broad shoulders, chiseled features, dark, tousled hair, and blazing blue eyes. On any given day he’s something to look at, but the glowing outline thing further illustrates the glaring difference between him and everyone else in the room.
His eyes fall on me and my heart flutters in my ribcage. I immediately stand a little bit taller and suck in my gut. My breath gets shallower and tighter. I close my eyes and force myself to breath normally. Passing out in class is not the way I want to make an impression.
I may not survive this class.
*Many thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
This series ended up to be so much more than what I was expecting. I didn’t have very high hopes in the first place, but they were definitely surpassed. Hope was such a light, enjoyable read. I’m always trying to find good books in which the MC is in the dance profession, but for some reason these books tend to be sparse and hard to find. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this book!
The Unpaved Road to Success
by Grier Cooper
I’ll never forget the moment when I decided that I was all in as an author. It was 2009, and a friend had somehow convinced me that I needed to go to the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) convention in Los Angeles, probably the biggest convention of its kind. There I stood, cowering in a crowd of Very Important People, otherwise known as Published Authors. These people gave uplifting, inspiring talks each day before hundreds of people and then swished through the hallways liked they owned the hotel. I, on the other hand, felt completely intimidated each time I entered the hallway.
I had this feeling somewhere in the middle of my torso (right around the third chakra, if you’re into that kind of stuff) that told me I was supposed to be here, even if I didn’t feel like I belonged right now. Someday I would write a book and it would be published. I didn’t know any of the supporting details like when or how…just…the sense that this was my future.
The convention lasted for five days. We sat for hours upon hours, listening to stories from other authors about the painful uphill climb to being published. They tossed out words like “persistence” and “dedication” and I thought, “Now this I can understand.” After all my years as a professional ballet dancer, I knew the meaning of both of those words all too well.
Or at least I thought I did.
At the time I had no idea that I was barely even on the beginning of the path to becoming published. I set out anyway. I wrote a bunch of stuff. Short stories, articles, essays, a picture book or two. Some of it was publishable, some not so much. I got a lot of rejections. Lots of times there was no response at all, which was even worse because I wondered and obsessively checked email while I waited…and waited. Eventually enough time passed where I realized the lack of response was all I was ever going to get.
Here’s the thing no one ever tells you: you have to be a little bit nuts to choose a career as an author. Really. It takes insane amounts of time to write something decent, then it takes insane amounts of time to get that work polished up to perfection…and still more insane amounts of time to research the proper channels and then submit the work to the proper channels and…you get the point. Everyone likes to gloss over this part, because it’s boring and also more than a little bit depressing. But it happens.
So we’ll leave it there and not go into further details about the boring and depressing parts. Just know that they’re there.
When I’d got to the point of wondering why I continued to put myself through all this I heard the little voice in the back of my mind–you know the one–the calm, sensible, loving voice that talks you off the ledge and back onto your path. That voice gently reminded me of what I heard at that writers’ conference years before: the difference between published writers and unpublished writers is persistence.
Everyone has these moments where you ask yourself what in the world you’re doing–it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do–moments that feel like failure, where you question whether or not you’re doing the right thing, or if you’re even sane. It helps to remember that others have been there, too. The only thing to do is to keep going, to keep moving forward, even if it’s little baby steps. On those days when you feel small, baby steps are all that you can manage. You keep going not just because you have to, but because you need to. You simply decide there is no turning back, no Plan B.
Eventually some of my essays and short stories were published. A bit further down the road I got a couple of publishing contracts for non-fiction titles. In between those projects I wrote novels. I found that writing these young adult novels, the first two of the Indigo Ballet Series, felt like magic, like an answer to the question what am I doing?
I love what I do (most days), and, unlike ballet, I love knowing that writing is something I can do right up until my last breath. That means there are still years ahead to improve, to reach another step closer to perfection, although I don’t believe that journey ever really ends.
This writing journey has held some surprising story twists and unexpected endings. In that sense, the writing life requires living on the edge, being comfortable with getting lost, taking that leap of faith and plunging forward through the dark, spooky forest until you see where you end up on the other side. It’s a little unnerving at times but it’s always an adventure.
Author Bio and Links
Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.
She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LPUJWSK
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/grier-cooper
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Make sure you follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better you chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.