Friday, July 6, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Silhouette by Thalia Kalkipsakis

Author: Thalia Kalkipsakis
Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Add it: Goodreads
Scarlett Stirling is hardworking and fiercely ambitious. She loves the blisters and the strict regime of her dance classes at the National Academy of Performing Arts. Her life is measured and balanced. Perfect.

But when Scarlett meets charismatic musician Moss, she enters another world – a world without restrictions – and is swept up in a heady whirlwind of sex, drugs and celebrity. Spread thin between her commitments and her desire to be with Moss, Scarlett pushes herself to the limit, unaware she’s playing a dark

Silhouette is not just another dance book. This gritty young adult novel follows the strong and determined Scarlett as she navigates her way from the safe, structured Academy into the adult world of commercial dance.

Thalia Kalkipsakis (Go Girl, Girlfriend Fiction) explores a cut-throat industry, where talent and ambition are paramount, and one mis-step can cost you everything.

I know nothing about the dance industry, and my own dance skills are limited to me swaying back and forth looking like a drunken ape (bar the grunting, I swear). Thankfully, my lack of rhythm did not cause for any confusion as Silhouette thrust me into Scarlett's shoes, dancing her way from strict, over-achieving student-dancer to a young girl, besotted and falling off the wagon. On a daring risk, Scarlett snuck into an audition with her best friend Paige, to star in a film clip for the gorgeous and talented musician, Moss Young. An audition that pays off... but not just for the dancing role. She's caught the wandering eye of handsome Moss. And she likes it.

Scarlett is an incredible dancer; top in her class and the envy of her classmates. She also has a determined and stubborn streak. I can't say I always found her very likable, but Kathy raised an great point not long ago about character likability. They don't always need to be likable for you to enjoy them, but have intriguing qualities that compel you to keep turning those pages. I think it's because I could see she was making stupid decisions at times and I just wanted to reach through and give her a good shake by the shoulders. But I find characters who force a reaction, rather than have me feel nothing, make for a good book.

Everyone knows who Moss Young is. A famous musician with the looks to match his seductive voice, Moss lives the fast-paced life of fame, sex, drugs and alcohol. Scarlett can definitely relate to his need to be more, because second best isn't good enough. He needs to shine, he needs his music to be perfection. I can understand how she - how many girls - could be lured in by his smoking hot looks and lulling words, but I wish there was more depth to the connection between them. At times I just struggled to grasp how a "Baaaaaabe" and sexy smile could so quickly derail a girl in every aspect of the strict dedication she once held for her dancing.

But at the same time, temptation is hard to resist. Especially for someone who's never really had time to stop and give it a second glance. I was a little torn over this aspect of the book, because I can TOTALLY understand the scenario, it does happen all too often in real life; young girls getting swept under the spell of the older guy who makes them feel special. But for a book, I just would have liked a tiny bit more from this downward spiral to make me emotionally invested.

Don't mistaken my few issues for a book I didn't enjoy, though. Silhouette is fast-paced and addictive. You'll easily zoom through the pages in one or two sittings, intrigued to see just how far Scarlett is willing to push herself. She thinks she's still in control as she tries to balance her everyday life and the rollercoaster that Moss is taking her on, but to the reader and eventually her friends, it's painfully clear that the more she falls into the wild-side of lust and addiction, the closer she comes to ruining any chance of a career. Her studies fail, her dancing slips and her body isn't reacting the same as it usually does when she comes to class with a hangover. Plus she's at odds with her mother over secrets long kept hidden. Can she pull herself out of this hole before she falls right through it?

Silhouette is another fantastic addition to Aussie YA contemporary that will appeal to dancers, non-dancers, and those that enjoy a descent into the dark side and the struggle to maintain control. It seems so many Australian writers love contemporary and it's a good thing to, because they're brilliantly talented at it.

3/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Booktopia | Fishpond



Thanks to the incredible Hardie Grant Egmont, I have ONE copy of SILHOUETTE to giveaway to Australian and New Zealand readers! Just fill out the form below for your chance to win :)

Open to Australia and New Zealand residents only
Ends  July 18th 2012


  1. Trust me, if you describe yourself as a drunken ape, there would be no describing how terrible my dancing skills are, haha! XD Lovely review, Brodie! I haven't had a dance-book in a while, so thanks for sharing this one with us! <3

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  2. This sounds like something I wouldn't read. But fab review, Brodie!

  3. Oh dear, girl making bad choices? DUN DUN DUN. I have some trouble with these books LOL. But I seriously love your review. I would really like to see your dancing skills first hand <3

  4. Broooooodiiiiiiie! I LOVES IT. Like, seriously... your review = me :OOOO

    THANK YOU AND KATHY for the point on character relatability! YES YES YES! I've never been able to say it, but YES! And the point you made about Scarlett's actions really do reflect those of so many real girls is so perfectly put. It's true. It happens ALL the time, and we know it's true... but we expect more from a book. Even in realistic fiction, it's not entirely fiction, but a heightened version of it. To seem really and authentic and stay readable, we need a little bit more... I think... I hope I explained that? Kind of? ASDAFGHDA. BRODIE. How do you this? Take words and put them together and make them SO PERFECT? You have amazing brains. *pokes* EW! SQUELCHY!

    1. I second your last point about Brodie's amazing brains!

    2. SQUELCHY.

      Only you could call my brains squelchy and make it sound sweet :)

    3. I mean it the bestest possibly way... squealichily :D

  5. HAHAHAA, I love Lisa's comment: "Oh dear, girl making bad choices? DUN DUN DUN" :P

    EEEEE! So I've heard about this book before but I didn't know it was an Aussie YA! And as you know, our Aussie authors are AMAZING! ;) I hope to get a chance to read this book too! (Even though all I can dance is...nothing :P)

    Awesome review, Brodie! ♥

  6. I don't think I've ever read a book about the dance world. Great review thank you.

  7. Great review, Brodie! I'm actually kind of intrigued by this book, but I know I would get SO frustrated with Scarlett! Though I can relate to the attraction to a musician, I know from experience to be wary of people who are so used to attention and girls falling at their feet, and will see Scarlett's mistakes before she makes them. Possibly an emotional read for me, even though I'm not a dancer. Could be an interesting read from that perspective. May give it a go at some point. Thanks for the review, Brodie!

  8. I find characters who force a reaction, rather than have me feel nothing, make for a good book. --> This is very true! I can already tell from the book description that Scarlett is not the type of character I would get along with, but that's not always a bad thing. It's much much worse when you feel absolutely nothing for the main character that you couldn't care less about what was happening. This sounds like a pretty intriguing book! Great review Brodie! :)

  9. I don't know if this is my type of read -- I'm much more into the fluffy contemps -- but this seems to tackle the intensity of being a teenager in an honest way. I can relate to that! Great review, Brodie.

  10. Haven't heard of this before! I'm not a huge fan of books about dance, but I can see the appeal of this as it seems like a slightly darker take on it. Glad you enjoyed it overall, despite some of your issues with it. Great review!

  11. Brodie, this sounds like such a good read, I especially love that it's Aussie contemp!

    I have a feeling the lack of character development will slightly bug me too but like you, I can imagine how easy the situation would occur.

    Thanks so much for reviewing this and for hosting the giveaway!!

  12. sooooooooooo many good Aussie contemps!! I want to read them ALL. I really like the sound of this, I kinda like MC's who aren't all that likeable, especially with a gritty story and a dark, alluring male. BUT I think I would struggle at the lack of depth within the relationship...I'm definitely a depth person

    Cait x

  13. Hi Brodie - thanks for your intelligent and considered review of Silhouette. (I am the author so I hope I'm not breaking any rules by commenting!) I found your (everyone's) comments about character likability interesting, especially because I don't particularly like Scarlett myself. While I was developing the story I actually considered telling it from Paige's point of view (Scarlett's best friend, who I find more likable), but then decided Scarlett's would be a stronger story to tell.
    Scarlett's mistaken attraction to Moss is, in my mind, linked to her absent father - perhaps a cliche.

    But many thanks to you all, especially Brodie, for a fascinating discussion!


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