"I always find myself completely engaged in one of [Gregg Bell's] books. He adds mystery and thrills to his reads and I’m hooked from beginning to end." - Craves the Angst
AUTHOR: Gregg Bell
AGE GROUP: Adult
GENRE: Suspense, Thriller
RELEASE DATE: December 13, 2016
PAGES: Approx. 204
COPY PROVIDED BY: Author
MY GOODREADS REVIEW LINK
RATING: 3.5 Stars!
Lily Russell thinks she can dance at London’s prestigious Royal Ballet. She also thinks she can single-handedly bring about world peace. Her friends know she’s delusional; her former bosses think she’s unreliable. The only person who seems to believe in her is her jealous ex-lover, Jeremy, and he’s shiftless and violent and doesn’t seem to understand the concept of “ex.” That doesn’t stop her from dreaming; dreams make life an adventure. But when she meets Edmund, a boxer who seems to genuinely care for her and who steadies her thinking, she starts to realize that her ordinary life might be enough of an adventure for her.
She expects a scene when Jeremy finds out about her new boyfriend, but she never could’ve expected the shocking crime that shakes her to the core. Now the police want her for questioning. The men in her life say they want to help her but can she trust them? Soon it becomes apparent the police think she committed the crime, and, her feeble grip on reality fading fast, she’s not entirely sure she didn’t.
REVIEWER'S NOTE: I received this eCopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 “Question Everything” Stars!
I thoroughly enjoy author Gregg Bell’s writing. I enjoy the curious characters he creates and I love the unique way he has of telling a story. I always find myself completely engaged in one of his books. He adds mystery and thrills to his reads and I’m hooked from beginning to end.
In American Ballerina, I found that I was once again consumed by the story. I enjoyed the writing, like I always do, and I enjoyed the setting and exposure to the surroundings the story provides. And I even enjoyed the peculiar situations the mains found themselves in. The heroine, Lily, was unusual to say the least, which is also where I’m wavering in my review. Though I found this story interesting, I couldn’t fully connect with the heroine. And thus why I’m only giving this one three and a half stars.
Lily Russell, an American from Chicago, is living in London. She has a mundane job as a secretary and she spends a lot of her free time practicing ballet in the hopes of earning a spot in the Royal Ballet. When we first meet Lily, she seems to have herself put together but we quickly learn there’s something off about her too. She has ambitious goals but very little follow through. She’s a bit full of herself, she’s presumptuous, she seems frivolous and sometimes impractical.
Lily soon meets Edmund and a quick relationship forms, but even with the prospect of something good, Lily’s paranoia gets the best of her.
As the story progresses, you can’t help but question Lily’s mental state. She herself admits to living in a fantasy world and sometimes has difficulty distinguishing reality from her fantasy. She gets herself into a series of serious situations and she lies to those she cares about.
Her well-being deteriorates quickly as does her reality. I couldn’t keep up with everything she was doing because the majority of it made no sense at all. However, I could feel how unsorted she was and that is accredited to the talented writing of the author.
But I guess my biggest gripe and also my biggest rave, is that I myself, couldn’t tell what was real and what was the workings of a troubled mind. I both disconnected from that and loved it. I loved the not knowing. I enjoyed trying to decipher the “hidden” in this story but I’m also left wondering what the point of it all was. With the ending we got, there was no real resolution to Lily’s journey for the reader. I’m sure things happened after the story ended because there was a certain path laid out, but I would have liked to have seen a real ending that didn’t leave me questioning everything.
The Wrap Up:
As I said before, I enjoy the distinct, individual traits of each character this author creates in his stories. This one was filled with just those kinds of characters. Everyone we met, I found myself scrutinizing carefully to make sure they were who we thought they were. I loved the mystery behind it all. I couldn’t really connect with Lily and I had a hard time sympathizing with her because I didn’t fully like her, but I did love the vivid palette of additional characters the author gives us to cement her world building and couldn't help but turn the pages to find out what would happen next. As for the ending, it left a lot more unresolved than I would have liked, but all in all, I still enjoyed this outlandish, thrilling story. It’s definitely worth a read.
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