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Breaking Pointe

Breaking Pointe

Author: Chenée Marrapodi

Publisher: Fremantle Press

Published: July 2024

Amelia and Valentina, who readers met in Chenée Marrapodi’s debut novel, One Wrong Turn, are passionate about dancing and determined to pursue a successful ballet career. They return in Breaking Pointe to face new trials that threaten not only their future dreams but also their present reality.

When a new teacher arrives at the Academy, he introduces an edgy contemporary dance into the mix, which challenges Amelia who is much more comfortable with classical ballet. Soon, she is also confronted with a shock diagnosis that threatens to upend life as she knows it.

While Valentina loves the new dance style, her family is struggling to make ends meet, a challenge familiar to many in the current cost-of-living crisis. While some students hope to win a new scholarship for the prestige it will bring, Valentina’s ability to remain at the dance academy may very well depend on it.

Once again alternating between the two girls’ points of view, readers will find themselves equally invested in each of the parallel narratives. There is a well-drawn supporting cast, too, including Valentina’s siblings, fellow dancers Khalila and Sam, and new teacher, Isaac, any of whom could become an engaging focus of future books if Marrapodi chooses to develop the series further.

Breaking Pointe is ultimately an uplifting story about family and culture, friendship and connection, teamwork and belonging while initiating much-needed conversations about topics such as financial hardship and chronic illness. Almost 50 percent of Australians are identified as having at least one long-term health condition. Here, Marrapodi offers valuable insight into the experience of diagnosis and adjusting to ongoing medical treatment as well as adapting to a new way of being in the world.

A delightful yet thought-provoking novel for middle-grade and young teen readers.

 

Reviewed by Melinda Tognini

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