(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Random House, Incorporated on January 19th 2016
She had a plan. It went south.
Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
There are so many things I found myself loving about this story that I don’t know where to actually start.
Harper and her best friend Kate are ballet dancers, and they have a plan. They’re going to graduate from high school early, then try out for the San Francisco Ballet and do the thing they love the most for the rest of their lives. There is no messing with the plan. Harper lives and breathes ballet, to pretty much an obsessive level. It’s both amazing and heartbreaking to see the things she gives up in order to pursue this dream.
But what happens when that dream goes off the rails?
Harper apparently heads to Antarctica, more specifically McMurdo Station where it’s dark and below freezing for six straight months. And she can’t wait.
Told in dual timelines set in both San Francisco and leading the decision that has her leaving, and Antarctica from her first day at the station, it worked perfectly for me. I loved getting to know the San Francisco that Harper loves and adores and the Antarctica that she is experiencing and learning more about each day.
I think that what I ended up loving most here though, was seeing Harper’s transition and growth. It was so hard to see her fall into that pit of grief, knowing the dream she lived and breathed for her entire life was now out of reach, but it was amazing to see her find her way out of it and ultimately find something else that fit her perfectly.
I truly loved the friendships that were established as well. Charlotte and Vivian were so amazing and I loved seeing the trust grow between the three of them. There was definitely an interesting cast of characters present at the station and it was fun getting to know each of them along the way, and I loved seeing how much her family was a part of her life while she was in San Francisco. I know I say this every time, but it’s refreshing when you see a family represented in a way that isn’t completely dysfunctional.
That said… when Harper leaves San Francisco, she was just getting to know her brother’s friend Owen. He was there for her in ways that no one else was and the connection they were building was so sweet. But when she gets to Antarctica another boy… he who shall not be named… becomes a part of her new daily life, and ultimately she forms a friendship/relationship with him. Until something happens. (I’m not telling by the way)
I think that what makes Up To This Pointe so interesting is that not only is it set in a wholly unique location, but it manages to approach grief and depression without the overwhelming sadness of death of a family member to kick it off. Longo’s writing perfectly captures the confusion of someone who isn’t sure what comes next and the sadness that goes with the loss of a lifelong dream.
I absolutely loved this story, and while this is my first Jennifer Longo book, I can guarantee it won’t be my last. Make sure you have this on your To Read pile and grab it as soon as you can!
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts!