Anything But Fine, by Tobias Madden
This story starts with a life changing incident, with ballet dancer Luca missing a step on a flight of stairs and shattering his foot, instantly crushing his dreams of auditioning for the Australian Ballet School.
Not only that, but Luca is suddenly forced to change schools. The shiny light-filled future he thought he was going to have is suddenly full of uncertainty as Luca struggles to cope with his feelings of loss and grief.
A welcome distraction arrives in the form of attractive rowing star and school captain Jordan, who bonds with Luca over their shared injuries. Jordan has a girlfriend - but as Luca's attraction to Jordan grows, he starts to wonder if the attraction might be mutual - or is it wishful thinking?
As he navigates the loss of old friendships, the beginnings of new friendships, and lingering grief over the death of his mum, Luca also has to try to work out exactly who he is without ballet in his life..?
I loved everything about this book - particularly the characters. Luca is a wonderful protagonist and the supporting characters are well-rounded and complex in their own right. Luca's new friend Amina is portrayed so vividly and with such heart, and really shines on the page. Likewise, Luca's dad is also portrayed as a supportive complex character (which is not always common in young adult fiction where parents are often portrayed as largely absent or unimportant).
The ups and downs of the storyline really hooked me in - some scenes had me laughing, while others broke my heart. I loved Luca's voice, which is at turns witty, insightful and vulnerable.
I couldn't put this book own, the writing simply sparkled and I held my breath wondering if things were going to work out for Luca in the end as things start to spiral out of control.
You will have to read this book yourself to find out!
Published by Penguin Australia