All the books I have read that have a ballerina as a main character, I have liked. I even liked the movie Black Swan, though at times I wanted to run from the room with my hands clapped over my ears…it was scary! Astonish Me reminded me of Black Swan in all the good ways. It had the twisted romance (but not the lesbian lovers), the hard training and discipline, and the longing for perfection and fulfillment. There was a little bit of flipping back and forth between time periods, but not enough to confuse me. The main characters are often described in intimate detail, I learned of their joys, sorrows, and fears as I read.
There were many different subjects that were addressed in this novel–first love, despair, dedication, marriage. I think what impacted me the most though was the emphasis the author put on never giving up on what you love and care about. If you have always been a runner, and you feel most satisfied and fulfilled when you are running, why would you stop? The same goes for many things in life, and the ballet dancers in this book paint a perfect picture of this principle.
Profanity/Language: 3 religious exclamations; 5 mild obscenities; 1 anatomical term; 5 F-word derivatives.
Sex/Nudity: Adults kiss; sex is referenced several times; sexual curiosity in adults and teens is mentioned throughout the book; one brief sex scene between adults is described with no explicit detail; two characters have a mature discussion regarding sex; gay lifestyles are mentioned briefly; a character is involved in a marital affair, with no detail given; a man is referred to as “sexy”.
Mature Subject Matter:
Gender identity issues.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Smoking marijuana mentioned; some drug use involving cocaine; adults drink.