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Pointe [Kindle Edition]

Brandy Colbert
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Speak meets Black Swan in this stunningly dramatic debut novel

All that drama, plus pointe shoes? Yes, please: this is one book that’s bound to make a splash

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1257 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399160345
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (10 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #427,463 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I wanted 12 Dec. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A part of me loved this book for the ending alone; for the tragic, beautiful, it's-going-to-be-okay-now finish. But the other part of me feels like that can't redeem the rest of the story for being incredibly boring and irrelevant.

For me, the main selling point of this book was Donovan coming back after years spent with his kidnapper, and seeing him interact with people. Seeing how it affected him and the kind of person he was now. Slowly learning the truth about what happened and struggling alongside him and Theo as they tried to come to terms with everything.

But Pointe isn't Donovan's story, at all. Donovan is in the book for about two seconds, right at the end, when the most exciting and gut-wrenching part of the story happens. Aside from that cameo, he is basically absent. He's talked about a lot, his story debated in classrooms, and we see flashes of him as a child through Theo's eyes, but Donovan, now, after his trauma, is not a part of the book.

That was disappointing, to say the least. Instead of exploring the most interesting aspect of this story, we're forced to endure chapter after chapter of Theo not eating, doing ballet, and kissing somebody she shouldn't be kissing. It was not the story I wanted to read.

There were rare moments of brilliance though, which were always in Theo's flashbacks. Not only to Donovan and her childhood friendship with him, but her relationship with Donovan's kidnapper. The scenes with Theo and that guy were perfectly creepy, intense, and fascinating in the most sickening way. Those are the parts I looked forward to most, and they were the segments that kept me going through the rest of the book.
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Theo is one of the most amazingly real characters I’ve come across in YA. She’s flawed, yes but this isn’t a case of “insert flaw A here for effect, then flaw B there” Theo is a person. Things get messed up but Theo also excels. She’s so talented, determined and honest with herself, even when it hurts.

This book is one of my favourite read of the year so far.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the right moves... 15 Oct. 2014
By Anthony Breznican - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brandy Colbert has penned an emotional and gripping coming-of-age story about a girl searching for grace amid harrowing shadows. Theo is a ballerina who pushes herself to the limits, striving for perfection, but yearning for escape from the strictures she imposes on herself. This is an inspiring story of someone trying to get up on her own two feet, rising on their tips to stand higher than she thought possible ... if only she could stop tripping herself up.

Theo is drawn as much to chaos as control. While working tirelessly to prove herself worthy of a future in ballet, she struggles with an eating disorder and is tempted by the usual teenage exploration of drugs and sex, embarking on a covert relationship with Hosea, her rehearsal pianist and the boyfriend of a close friend. She knows it's ill-advised, but that somehow makes him all the more tempting.

Theo is no stranger to guilt, and seems determined to generate and endure more of it, punishing herself the way she tests her body against the physical pains and demands of dance. Roiling inside her is fear that she's partly responsible for the disappearance of another friend, Donovan, who went missing years before, either kidnapped or run away. She doesn't know, and truly doesn't want to know. When he returns unexpectedly, it raises truths she has worked hard to ignore -- but this is a girl who has prepared herself to face the harshness of life, and and when she finally does it is a thing of beauty.

Colbert's tale is a riveting study of the clash between creative and destructive impulses, with language that captures gritty reality of life with poise and elegance. "Pointe" moves fearlessly into the darker caverns of a young heart, the kind of places anyone could disappear into, if they're not surefooted.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Gut-Wrenching Debut 4 Aug. 2014
By Amanda Joy S. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The first thing I want to start with is a trigger warning. This book contains vivid depictions of sexual assault, pedophilia, and rape. If any of these are triggering for you, this book will be difficult for you to read. It is a truly beautiful, brilliant book but it was very emotionally draining and difficult to read.
I first heard about Pointe a few months ago and my interest was piqued because of the backdrop of ballet, but my first impression was that there were so many things for the author to juggle. It seemed impossible for me that Theo’s life could be presented in a natural way. I was wrong. Though hers was a quiet voice, after a bit of reading, Theo’s voice settled over me and I became fully engaged with her story.
The setting of Pointe reminded me so much of my own upbringing, in suburban Chicago in a mostly white neighborhood. There was one vivid recollection of Theo in middle school during a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement where the teacher singled Theo out because she was black. I’ve never felt so connected with a setting in a book before, especially as Theo would take the train into the city (as I did all throughout high school). It was just very well done for me.
The reading experience of Pointe was similar to my first time reading Wintergirls, because although I love both books and would absolutely recommend them, they were difficult reads. With Pointe I made the decision to finish it within two days because it wasn’t an experience I wanted to draw out. There were beautiful scenes in this book, but also scenes that made me shake with sorrow and anger. What Pointe executes perfectly is making the reader truly understand how and why victims can blame themselves and be so groomed by a predator.
My only negative thing to say is that the climax of the novel - which I won’t spoil, but I’ll just say involves Theo revealing what happened to her on a grand scale - did a fade out. I wanted to be in that scene and experience it, as gut wrenching as I know it would have been. And I always have this desire, but I would have enjoyed spending more time in Theo's recovery, because ending so abruptly seems too neat for all the things Theo was dealing with. I also wish the author would have mined exactly why Theo and Hosea’s relationship was so problematic (especially by connecting it to Theo’s childhood experiences).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once 13 Jun. 2014
By Once Upon a Twilight - Published on
Okay, so this book was definitely a book I had to sit down and digest for a while, something that I had to sit back and say what did I just read? The story was amazing though; gut wrenching and gritty at times but something that is very realistic. Pointe follows Theo who has overcome heartbreak, an eating disorder, and her best friend being abducted, but when her best friend (Donavon) returns very dark memories being to resurface.

So we’ve got Theo who is working hard at taking her ballet career to a professional level and getting her life back on track. When Theo was thirteen she had a boyfriend that had left her without any warning and just disappeared, after her boyfriend disappeared she went into a depression. Around the same time her boyfriend left her best friend was abducted and everything began to spiral down and Theo winds up with a severe eating disorder. Now that four years have passed and Theo is doing better, eating better, dating semi-better guys, and then everything changes. This book is filled with gut wrenching and heart breaking scenarios that Theo has to overcome and at 17 years old that can be tough. Theo is a character I absolutely loved reading about, she was real, I could feel her through the pages, and though there were times I wanted to shaker her, I wouldn’t want her any other way. She was a real teen going through some really rough stuff for her age and she had her faults, her strengths and she was just someone that was completely relatable and got you completely enthralled in her story.

I would most definitely recommend this book, it was a beautiful story with real gritty truth to it, but I would have to say to keep the audience to a mature young adult, some content could be graphic. - Shannon (US)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb multi-facted story featuring a young AA teenage girl! 3 Jun. 2014
By Libertad A. Thomas - Published on
Hmmmm.....where do I start? This book had a lot going on in it. It touched on sooo many topics to be about one person. Eating disorders, Pedophilia, Abduction, Depression, pretty much everything you can go through before you reach the ripe age of 18.

A little history about the books plot.

The story follows Theo, a high school senior who's only purpose for living is to dance. Her life turns upside down when her childhood best friend returns after being abducted 4 years prior.Or was he? The story revolves around her feelings of everything that lead up to and after that event.

This book managed to tell a very compelling story about a young African American girl where the plot didn't center around her being a black person in America. It might seem like "Oh, what's the big deal?", But a stack of books I've read about black girls almost always centered around them being black, being different or being the "other". That isn't the only story Girls of color have to tell. So this book was a great push in the right direction about a girl going through everyday issues, who just happens to be non white.

Theo was a conflicted character. She was going through a lot of stuff. Reading between the lines, I got the impression that she was insanely insecure. She just didn't understand that people surrounding her used her for her body. I guess I was feeling some type of way because most of them were white guys, in fact all of them were white guys. At first I thought it was cute that this really popular, attractive guy from her school liked her, until i realized her never addressed her by her name. It was always "Legs". By referring to her as a part of her body, it reduced how he saw her as a person, she was her body. Nothing more, and when it comes to racially sensitive people, you really have to tread lightly with that. She was from the suburbs of Chicago, so I can understand that most likely she was surrounded by very little brown or black faces, but still, I've seen other books where there were interracial relationships where the men respected and cherished the girls, so that part really bothered me.

I liked that Theo wasn't as smart as she thought she was. She thought she had it all figured out, but in reality she was a mess. All she was really right about was that she was good at ballet. She was just really confused about everything else, which at 17, she's pretty much allowed to be.

While this isn't the most appropriate of things, i loved how the author showed how realistic teenagers are. I wasn't a big fan of using drugs(in fact i've never gotten high in my life), but the reality was that A LOT of my friends did.I was the exception, I wasn't the rule. A lot of books I read paint girls as bookish hermits who never go to parties but somehow STILL find a way to attract the attention of the most popular, attractive guys in school. In real life that never happens!

The ending of this book had me singing high notes like Mariah! Something finally got through to Theo. I was so pleased with how she handled herself in the end and it made up for all the mistakes she made in the past.Well maybe not all of them, but it was a start!


Most of my issues with the book are marketing related. Like the cover. I think the cover is nice but what is it like the new whitewashing to blur or shade out a person of color on the cover??? I knew that the main character was African American, in fact that was the main reason I bought it, but had I not have known already that she was black, the cover doesn't do much help at letting me know that. The publishing industry is unfair that way. They won't make it easy for people actually looking for books like this. I've passed up an insane amount of opportunities to read about a dancer in a book, the reason why I never picked one up? Because I thought it was goina be about some white girl from Whiteville, America who's the best at what she does, struggles with the same body issues most dancers do and whines about once again not getting the guy she wants. But Pointe is something I would have sought out!Thanks to Diversity in YA, I was able to discover this book, so sites like Diversity in YA are really beneficial to helping people like me find these types of titles!

Another issue i had was the title. The title leads us to think that the book is ONLY about ballet, but the truth is it centers on a lot of topics, I wanna say with all the stuff Theo was going through, the book could have easily been about something else like teen body issues or centered just around her friends disappearance. It just seemed like she just happened to be a dancer but the title makes it seem like it's a Center Stage-esque story.

How can I say this without sounding like a crab??? I didn't like any of her love interests! Every guy she dealt with didn't really deserve her. Outside of her guy best friends, there wasn't one guy I was sold on. I wish there could have been one guy that treated her the way a girl deserves to be treated. I know that's life, but damn, someone should have redeemed her relationships with guys in this book.

My last issue was the amount of characters she introduced. I know she's in high school so tons of people go to high school, but I don't know, i was just really lost in the vast sea of characters. Especially because there wasn't much time spent on introductions or describing them so I really cared for them even less. I think maybe if it had been like 6-8 regular mentions, I would have been satisfied. But it seemed like every other page she introduced someone new that hardly,if ever, made another appearance in the book.

I think this book was amazing at showing that black teenage girls can have relatable, realistic and raw stories like white teenage girls. We aren't all confident, strong or inferior like the media paints the picture of black women to be. Like I'm a confident person, but when I was younger, I never considered that other black girls like me weren't. Because many of us aren't raised with the same body issues as our white counterparts, we tend to accept our bodies more so I never considered that black women suffer from eating disorders.Media also doesn't do a justifiable job at showing that black girls/women can be vulnerable. The "Strong Black Woman" is a very hurtful stereotype that paints black women as so strong we are in no need of any help or even deserving of it. Books like this do a real good job at dismantling the ignorance and doubt that I once had and i hope it does the same for many other readers.
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtley profound 26 Mar. 2015
By Pink Amy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Grade: A-

POINTE was not the book I expected, after perusing the blurb. It was so much less and so much more.

Seventeen-year-old Theo dreams of a future career as a prima ballerina, a rarity for black girls. The last to talk to her best friend Donovan before he disappeared four years ago, she's all but given up hope of seeing him alive. But now he's back and not talking. To anyone. And she knows his alleged kidnapper, more well than anyone could imagine. She knew him as Trent, her eighteen year old secret boyfriend. Now Theo knows his real name I'd Chris and he's really thirty-years-old. And Donovan was found with him two-thousand miles away. But Donovan wasn't kept tied up in a basement. He could have gotten away. Maybe he ran away to be with Trent/Chris. Maybe Chris was cheating on her with Donovan. Now Theo is being asked to testify against her ex-boyfriend, for kidnapping her best friend and she's not sure what to do. If only she could talk to Donovan. But he's holed up in his house. Not talking to anyone.

Theo has a lot of problems and more layers than most people, let alone novel characters. Brandy Colbert gives her main character so much depth, I felt like Theo was real. An ambitious dancer, competitive, but not brutally do, imperfectly recovering from anorexia, the only black girl in her dance troupe and school, convinced she's still in love with her ex "boyfriend", sometimes dishonest daughter of two loving parents, cheating secretly with a drug dealer who already has a girlfriend--Theo is dealing with more than most. Sometimes I wanted to grab her and tell her she deserved better, most times I wanted to hug her tight and tell her Trent/Chris wasn't her boyfriend, he was her rapist. I liked her, rooted for her, and understood her enough to wonder, under other circumstances if I could have been her.

I expected, and kept waiting for, Theo and Donovan to reconnect and heal each other. I thought that would be the essence of the story, but POINTE was much more Theo's story than Donovan's. Her journey was much more painful than the joy of reconnection and weathering the aftermath as only best-friends
can do.

The only negative of this brilliant, subtle, thought provoking novel is that there were too many minor high school friends/acquaintances for me to keep track of. I hope Colbert continues to write wonderful, deep novels and that she writes quickly, because I can't wait to see what she does next.

Themes: kidnapping, friendship, dancing, anorexia recovery, dating, statutory rape, drugs, ballet, relationships, court, family, cheating
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