Perfection. It is an illusion that twenty-year-old Anya DeSotto strives to maintain.
The perfect ballerina.
The perfect daughter.
The perfect liar.
Everyone else seems fooled by the charade—but Anya isn’t prepared for the moment her perfect mask is cracked in half by someone much more adept at the art of pretending. Nearly two decades her senior, Revend Marcus, the owner of a prestigious international ballet company, has no problem with breaking Anya down to suit his own twisted idea of perfection. But when a shadow from Revend’s past looms over their futures, and Anya’s insecurities push their relationship to a violent crescendo, the resulting chaos threatens to destroy them both.
Though, sometimes, even destruction can be pretty perfect
“Pointe shoes were my weapon.
Motion was my armor.
As long as I kept moving, nothing could touch me.”
Anya DeSotto is a troubled ballerina whose pointe shoes might take her over the edge just as easily as they’d enter first position. Though she struggles to contain her emotions—at the advice of her (quack) therapist—she does so with a smile and charm that easily fools those around her, at least that’s what she thinks. The truth is that everyone is too scared to acknowledge the truth—everyone except Revend Marcus. He isn’t afraid to call B.S. on Anya’s faux happiness because he’s experienced his own share of pain, and has the scars to prove it.
This last fact is one of many things I loved about this novel. Though I cringed a bit when his face was ascribed to the overused “chiseled stone”, I was happy to learn that said face was scarred due to an accident from years prior. It was also refreshing to see a “student-teacher romance”, that didn’t linger on the usual taboo tropes of the genre. Instead, the story focuses on the two as Revend pushes Anya to release her emotions, all the while hiding his own.
The book is also filled with beautiful imagery laced with just a hint of darkness, a style the author has maintained and mastered through her other works. Even while using ballet terms I’d never heard of, she was able to weave them throughout the novel in such a way that I felt I was “watching” as opposed to reading.
For all the beauty that lay within the pages of this book, there were a few points that didn’t work for me. Over the last few years, there’s been an influx of stories with weak and whimpering heroines being dominated by abusive counterparts. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say Revend is abusive, there are definitely some points in the novel that “struck” the wrong chord for me—pun intended. Anya can be considered strong for the way in which she pursues her dream, even as it threatens to destroy her, but for most of the novel (despite Revend’s insistence) she continues to hide behind her mask and never really tries to let go. Then again, perhaps that’s the point of the novel—to show that there isn’t some “perfect” solution for our problems.
Still, Pretty Perfect was damn near perfect and I’d it recommend all day, every day. If you aren’t into “May-December”, “student-teacher”, “troubled man” romances, I’d still tell you to give this book a shot. It touches all these topics in an artful way that’s sure to keep you turning pages, and eager to read everything in Lana Sky’s catalog.