Title: Second Position (District Ballet Company #1)
Author: Katherine Locked
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 13, 2015
Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had…or destroy the fragile recoveries they’ve only started to make.
Dance movies and TV shows are my absolute guilty pleasure. When I come across one, I can’t help myself, I just have to watch. So a dance book? Totally up my alley. So why it took me this long to read Katherine Locke’s Second Position, I truly don’t know.
Before, Alyona and Zedekiah were attached at the hip. They told everyone they were just friends, but everyone knew they were so much more than that. But then a horrible car accident took everything away from them, ending Zed’s ballet career and starting Aly down the path that would lead to a mental breakdown jeopardizing her own ballet career. Now four years later, Zed and Aly run into each other after years without the slightest communication. Everything both of them have tried so hard to put behind them come rushing forward. But spending time together reminds Aly and Zed of what they once had and slowly they start building it all back up. But will they be able to avoid heartbreak this time?
Since it came out earlier this year, I had seen plenty of people talking about Katherine Locke’s Second Position and it had been on my radar. But since it came out around the same time as seemingly every other book published this spring, I kind of forgot about it. But while on vacation, I finally read it (and the prequel novella, Turning Pointe). Despite what people had been saying, I didn’t expect this story to be what it was. I knew it was about ballet, and the description clearly indicated that it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows. But then I read Turning Pointe and that punched me right in the feels. So I was prepared for what might be coming in Second Position. And it was a good thing. Because there were plenty of times when this story took a dark and emotional turn. Katherine Locke didn’t hold back when it came to showing the different ways that grief and heartbreak can affect people. There were so many times when the emotions leapt off the page. As a reader, it wasn’t difficult to buy in to the pain that these characters were feeling, and their small joys felt that much more rewarding. Because at the end of the day, I got pretty freaking attached to Zed and Aly so when they were happy, I was very happy.
I loved Zed and Aly. They were flawed, they were hurting, they were struggling, and that made me love them even more. I could feel their pain while I was hurting. I could easily see and understand how much they were struggling not to fall back into old patterns with each other and with themselves where their relationship, past and present, was concerned. The relationship between Zed and Aly could have so easily become one that wasn’t healthy for either one of them, and I loved that they both recognized that and they were both afraid that that’s what would happen between them no matter how hard they tried to avoid that particular outcome. At times, though, it felt like this story was almost more about Aly’s recovery and her struggle. Like so much else in Second Position, that struggle felt completely real. Aly was struggling and hurting and Katherine Locke didn’t shy away from depicting that struggle in ways that were sometimes hard to read. My one slight disappointment about Second Position was that I didn’t get to see that much about Zed’s recovery. There are many times that you see Zed struggle with not taking a drink when things get tough, but I wish I could have seen more of him struggling with his addiction, the way I saw Aly struggle with her eating disorder and her relationship to ballet. But from what I can tell from the description of the sequel, Finding Center, I may be getting my wish.
Though it wasn’t entirely what I thought it was going to be, I loved reading Katherine Locke’s Second Position. This was an engrossing story that was at times hard to read for all the right reasons. I can’t wait to see what happens next to Aly and Zed in Finding Center.