Published by Penguin Random House Australia on 31 August, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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Luca is ready to audition for the Australian Ballet School. All it takes to crush his dreams is one missed step . . . and a broken foot.
Jordan is the gorgeous rowing star and school captain of Luca's new school. Everyone says he's straight - but Luca’s not so sure . . .
As their unlikely bond grows stronger, Luca starts to wonder: who is he without ballet? And is he setting himself up for another heartbreak?
How would you feel if everything that you knew about your life changes in an instant? Anything But Fine, of course!
In this #LoveOzYA contemporary book, that’s exactly what happens to Luca, when he trips over the stairs of the ballet school and shatters his ankle. Everything he knows disappears in an instant – his promising ballet career, his shiny scholarship to his private school, and even the closest friends he’s had since he could talk.
Anything But Fine covers the time after his accident, about the depression and uncertainty and adjustment to his new life without ballet. Not only does he have to walk around with crutches, but his days usually filled with practice have suddenly become empty. He’s also kicked out of his old private school and subsequently, his friendship group, and needs to make new friends at the local public school. It is a dark and trying place for Luca, but slowly, over the course of the book, he finds his place.
There’s also a m/m romance in Anything But Fine, as Luca majorly crushes on Jordan the half-Japanese School Captain and Captain of the Football team – who also happens to be straight. Or is he really? There’s a lot to navigate here with Jordan’s sexuality as he gets to know Luca for the first time, including his reputation as the most popular guy at school and perhaps even coming out for the first time. I thought the developing relationship was really cute, but I could definitely see how things were complicated and frustrating at the same time. I loved how the romance developed through flirty texts and communication and could really sense the chemistry they had with one another.
I also loved Amina, the nerdy, Indonesian girl who quickly befriends Luca at the new school. She’s chatty, outgoing and bubbly and also a genius and doesn’t hesitate to help out Luca with his studies. I love how she handled the racist microaggressions that were dealt towards her by various people in the book, and how she doesn’t really care about what others think of her. Her attitude was really refreshing and I could see how she was such a positive influence on Luca, especially while he was having a difficult time.
From first love, to ballet, healing and rehabilitation, Anything But Fine covers a trying time in a dancer’s life when they are injured and can’t dance anymore. It tells a story of things working out, no matter how bleak they look at the start. I thought the story was really lovely and inspirational, with a wonderful gay romance as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for sending me a review copy.
Anything But Fine is out now in Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99 or from The Book Depository.
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